Saturday I strolled alone through a golden vineyard. Let me tell you, if you’ve got a nice sunny day going for you this time of year, get out in it! I mean really out in it. The more natural the environment the better. Drag your family along too.
In the short term, the quietude will re-center you. In the long-term it might keep you saner when you’re locked in traffic, cooped up inside, or stuck anywhere you’d rather not be. Enjoying the bounties of nature (even in winter) might also keep you safer. Because let’s face it, trolling malls can be scary dangerous. Just last week a bunch of Long Island bargain hunters trampled a store employee! Yes, they actually killed a guy who stood between them and 30% off of such gotta-haves as a pair of Hulk Smash Hands. Nothing like that ever happens in vineyards, even when grapes with attitude are still on the vine. Of course, I wasn’t hunting for anything on Saturday, which is probably why finding the goats was so cool.
There were 15 of them in a spacious, grassy fenced-in area. It looked like a perfect home for goats. I’m just assuming, of course. But really, they all seemed pretty happy. OK, I don’t know that for sure, but I can verify that none actively complained. Except for this one goat. He looked at me with what could only be called longing. Like he suddenly realized that his goat-life was not complete. Maybe the others felt it too, but they just stood and stared. Goat the Brave, on the other hand, trotted right over to the fence. He looked up at me and said, “I need some love. Can you help?”
Naturally I reached through the railing and petted him. He tilted his head and smiled. “Ahh, that’s great. Now how about behind my left ear, if you don’t mind?” I didn’t mind. I was into it. As we bonded by the fence for the next few minutes the world went away. Then I happened to look over his head into another galaxy where the rest of the herd stood frozen, watching G the B get all that hands-on love and special attention. Their collective desire to be patted and cooed at was palpable and yet, they didn’t have whatever courage it took to step right up and say, “Me too!”
After five, ten minutes max, I left the goats and headed back to the tasting room where the guests sipped their Chardonnay and Merlot, downed salami and cheese, and enjoyed the music of The Pellegrini Band comprised of select members of the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District Non-Marching Band (aka The Sewer Band) and the Corte Madera Town Band.
Between sets I read on a bench in the late afternoon sun. A 5 year old girl (aka Little Spunky) spotted me and like the brave goat, also wanted attention. But because she’s human, she was naturally more coy in her approach. She ducked behind my bench and sang quietly to herself but not all that quietly. When I turned to her, Little Spunky lowered her voice and pretended to pick flowers. Two can play this game! I turned back to my book, but faked her out and immediately shot her another glance. Ha! I caught her looking at me! But this time she didn’t look away. Instead, she smiled knowingly and simply said, “Santa’s coming!” The message was clear… “Don’t miss it, lady!” Then she climbed out of the flower bed and ran into the tasting room.
I followed. And within seconds, the band started “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and there was Santa. And who do you think was the first to talk to the fat man, receive a kindly pat and a candy cane? You guessed it. Way to go, Little Spunky. Way to go, Goat the Brave. You know how the world works. You want love? You want attention? Speak up.