Ridge Vineyards is closed today. The tasting rooms are silent, the corks remain interred, the foils are still uncut. No wine splashing into waiting crystal bowls, no soft sighs of appreciation as the crimson elixirs pass expectant lips.
I accordingly made my farewells last night, as I slipped into the Monte Bello darkness towards my car; the fading glow of lights absorbed behind me. I reached my car, loaded my bags and wine in, and prepared to slide into the seat and turn the engine.
And then I paused.
It was cold, almost bitterly so, and the breeze was picking up and turning sharp. My heavy black overcoat seemed meager protection in the moment, but the slowly weaving backlit figures on the knoll seemed, with their canes, to be beckoning, so I walked towards the knoll, the stroll feeling somehow pre-ordained.
The night-glazed stones turned crisply beneath my boots as I moved up the path towards the summit: the broad spread of the knoll, its pate fringed with a sparse ring of weathered and wise old vines.
And I stood there in the lowering eve, faintly trying to ponder on the year just passing, but instead, mostly just feeling the space; the air, the sky, the ground.
And this, I realized, is what I’d come to do; I had simply come to bid farewell to a fine year, and feel its departure in the quiet of the slowly lowering evening.
No revelations, no epiphanies; no laughter, no tears. Just a soft bit of silence, and a moment of peace.
Farewell to you, 2012, and thank you. Good night.
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