Thoughts On Being A 2012 Wine Blog Awards Finalist, Part I
(with apologies to Shunryu Suzuki)
“In Japan we have the phrase ‘shoshin’, which means ‘beginner’s mind.’ The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind.”
“This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.”
“The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.”
–from “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki
As I see it, to write a “Winery Blog” is to occupy a rather unique incarnation of the bully pulpit, in that it affords one the opportunity to champion the cause in two very different but equally important ways.
I can express my dedication to, belief in, and admiration for the form by directly reaching out to the wine blogging community; by putting forth the proposition that a winery that believes in wine should also believe in wine blogging, and wine bloggers.
The Wine Bloggers.
I can be with them, speak to them, hear them speak. I can highlight them, praise them, challenge them. I can evoke them, enable them, enrich them. I can offer to them, receive from them, share with them. I can lead by example, and learn by their example.
I can, if I am lucky, be one of them.
A Wine Blogger.
This is a direct embracement, and endorsement.
This is to say, from said pulpit, that we so admire and believe, that we wish to join.
And I can write.
I can express my dedication to, belief in, and admiration for the form by writing.
By not just writing.
By not just writing, but by attempting to write at the utmost extension of my abilities at all times; by writing in deference to the gods of the word, of the line, of the way.
There is no greater compliment to a form, to a tradition, to a canon, than to honor it with the very best of the very little, yet very beautiful, you can offer.
To write well is to be a mendicant at the altar of that which may ultimately define us a species; the temple of thought, of sentience, of self-knowledge.
The Temple of Language.
This is a church that sees neither mediums nor formats. It does not see novels, plays, poems, or prose, and it does not see magazines or journals or blogs. It sees only your true and original face, as expressed through the fallible but determined pulse of your words. It hears the sound of your one hand clapping, and knows this as the true sound of your soul being sung.
I have written often of wine as our liquid of ritual, and I believe this is what we write of, when we write about wine.
We may seem to speak of varietals or regions, of notes of anise, clove, and cherry, or time spent in the cellar, but what we really mean to say is “this is my journey,” my search for the meaning in ritual.
When first we taste of wine, vines are vines, and grapes are grapes.
Then as we learn, we learn to search. And as we search we learn we know less than we knew when we began.
Suddenly, grapes are no longer grapes, vines no longer vines.
Wine is birth and it is death, and it is love, and it is grief. It is in the church, and in the bedroom, in the bar, and in the street. It is everywhere and nowhere, and the symbol of both everything and nothing. It is the wheel of life in rotations both mad with want and slow with peace.
It is the symbol of the destinationless path, winding slowly past and slowly through vineyards no longer vineyards, wineries no longer wineries.
But one day, when all the subtle hints of cocoa and leather are over, when the days of herbaceousness are done, when no more lavender and lilac aromatics are afoot, there can be, suddenly, transmission.
Transmission of the wine/no-wine mind.
When grapes once again become grapes, and vines once again vines.
This is Wine Mind, Beginner’s Mind.
As I see it, to write a “Winery Blog” is to cultivate Wine Mind, Beginner’s Mind.
To search for that which you already know.
To find that which was already there.
To write, finally, that grapes are grapes, and vines are vines, and life is truly amazing.
To receive a nomination of this kind is a deep and moving honor, for it is to be acknowledged both by those you write from, and by those you write for.
To the writers, I say thank you for your example, and to the readers, I say the same.
And to all, I say thank you.