March 05, 2012

Little Bird

Today saw a day trip to eastern Washington with the Guild Winemakers crew to research sources for our future bottlings. Leaving Portland before dawn, through the Columbia River Gorge and then north through the Yakima Valley to the Wahluke Slope, pictured left. Sagebrush and scrub, tumbleweeds rolling in the wind, the sky and landforms as big as I remember New Mexico many years back. Clouds hanging over it all, but no rain, just dust. A haboob.

This land makes me think of Mary Austin's The Land of Little Rain, a southwestern classic I read in grad school in San Francisco, about the perseverance of living, surviving, in a landscape where water leaves you lonely, but not the wind.

We found what we were looking for today, plans for our future, clarity I suppose. Things we can live within, like this landscape, indifferent to us but patiently giving what we need most if we can see it.

Then back again to our home, the sky turning grey near the Dalles, the rocks by the roadside turning mossy at Cascade Locks, then the rain, only drops, then hail, then sun, the pattern of spring. Then Portland at sunset, clouds reflecting the day's dying in a way I wish I could capture and give on demand. It seems that important.

Tonight it was back to the city, a beautiful dinner at Little Bird downtown with a partner and barrel people, discussing forests and grains, toast levels and aging protocols. My mind wandered a bit though, late, to the music. The district sleeps tonight from the postal service, old for being new enough to hear in a modern restaurant. And Rome right after it. The coliseum.

We drank 2009 Four Cairn Syrah from Napa Valley.

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