The Zinfandel will be our next project, hopefully ready to harvest by the start of next week. Zinfandel can be infuriating – uneven ripening will have some berries puckering into raisins while others in the same cluster still taste tart and bland. We watch the canopy and sigh with forced patience as we wait for the slowpokes, worrying over dehydration and willing the vine to get its act together. It always does, eventually.
The mornings are growing progressively colder, there are more oak leaves in the driveway than there were last week, and the valley glows in that special way made possible only by slanted autumnal sunlight. The other morning I arrived at work just in time to watch the sunrise. The pale sky above me was dotted with hot air balloons at staggered altitudes, some close enough to see small faces peering over the edge of the baskets. Though I sometimes wonder if what I do for a living is the best or the worst way to enjoy my favorite season, at that moment the answer was unquestionably clear.