Last summer I learned for the first time that there were two pairs of ospreys nesting on the top of a power pole in our neighborhood. They were several miles apart, but both along the country roads surrounded by the broad orchards. Then a fierce wind storm went by later in August that took one of the nests apart; that’s my neighbor told me. We weren’t sure if the baby bird was mature enough to fly away for safety. One day I had a chance to ride out and go by the power pole. Actually the pole was damaged during the storm so it was replaced with a brand new piece. I saw some debris of the nest on the ground of the orchards along the road, then the next moment I found one osprey standing on the top of the next pole. It took off from the pole and circled around when I went by. It was a somber scene.
Ospreys August 9, 2017
Feeling like May… April 26, 2017
Sour cherries in the backyard are in bloom while honeysuckles’ leaves grow larger every day in this last week of April — it already feels like May. The grapes are nearing to bud break; perhaps any time for Maréchal Foch, always the first to turn green in my vineyards. After observing the grape buds with the watchful eyes, I see the flowers and the wind that trembles them, and the endless blue sky sparkling overhead.
Annular Solar Eclipse of May 1994 March 28, 2017
Believe it or not, there was an annular solar eclipse visible from right here on May 10, 1994. I was out of college a few years prior to it, and the construction of our current Tasting Room was nearing its completion. Our season used to start on Memorial Day weekend so it was still pretty quiet around here that time of the year, especially on weekdays. I was working in the wine cellar waiting for the totality of the eclipse. I had an access to a welder’s protective lens — a piece of very deeply tinted glass that was meant for being installed on a welder’s helmet to keep their vision safe from the sparks they would produce while working in their shop. It was dark enough to safely observe the sun as well. I walked in and out from the tank room to the driveway every so often while working on the wine to follow the progress of the eclipse with the piece of the glass in my hand. When the totality arrived, I saw the thin ring of the sun through the lens and the shadows of myself on the gravel. A few days later I wrote the following for the memorable moment I was fortunate to have. Now another solar eclipse is coming this August, and I will of course use the same piece of the glass to observe the sun again.
Annular Solar Eclipse
Beneath the sky
in the marvelous shine
the shadows are in layers
as they move.
At high noon
I look up at the phenomenon,
happens only once
in my lifetime here.
The First Day of Spring March 20, 2017
Though still chilly, it’s good to welcome the arrival of spring 2017.
Fox in the Yard Today February 28, 2017
Just looked out the front door, and guess what I found in my yard…
Bluebirds’ Visit February 24, 2017
I thought I saw them in this balmy weather — that’s right. I have to go and clean their homes. So I walked out to the North Vineyard and removed the debris from last summer that was left in two bluebird boxes on my vineyard posts. As it was such a nice day, I was brought out further into the Old and East Vineyards for a stroll. Probably half an hour later I came back closer to the bluebird boxes. I was slowly walking from vine to vine to see how they were doing. Then one moment I happened to look up to find a pair of bluebirds checking on one of the newly cleaned boxes out there. — Yes, it’s your home if you like. They saw me and paused for a while, then started to fly away as I walked closer to them. That’s OK; I will see you there this summer raising your kids again like a few years ago. — I hope.
Open the North Window March 24, 2016
I have my desk along the north wall of my house, and there is a window not too far from where I sit and work. I have a pair of thick curtains on all the windows in my house that I like to keep open during the day and close at sundown regardless the weather. However, when I quit using a wood-stove several years ago, I found out how drafty my house could get in winter — the massive heat of the wood-stove was covering up that fact. Naturally I started to keep the curtains closed when it was cold outside, especially the ones on the window on the north wall that was almost next to me. They didn’t quite stop all the chills, but were better than nothing. Consequently, I learned to keep this pair closed during the winter.
Though it remained relatively mild this winter, I kept the curtains on the north window closed. When the balmy weather suddenly arrived a couple of weeks ago, I stood right next to this window one morning and thought about a moment, then pulled the string to open the curtains. The light rushed in and made the whole house brighter. I could see a few starlings perching in the red maple tree next door above the Winery Barn.
I instantly recalled the kigo, a word or term that must be included to describe a season in a Japanese haiku; “Open the North Window” (if it were English) is used to indicate the haiku is about spring. They used to (or maybe even now in some regions) close up any openings, windows and sometimes doors, on the north side of their houses to prevent the winter cold to sneak in. They often literally nailed some boards to close them tight. Once the spring arrived, they went out to remove the shields that kept them warm but dark during the winter. I thought I understood their joy to let the light come in again and the relief that the bitter winter was finally over.
The vernal equinox is behind us and the sun has started his trek north to the summer solstice. There is the period every summer when the setting sun over the Lake can be seen from this north window while I sit around. That’s what, of course, I’m looking forward to now.