By M.L. Hilton
(NAPA, CA) — It takes a bit of practice: getting inured with the beauty and ever changing scenery of the Napa and Sonoma counties. I haven’t gotten there yet, and hope that I retain enough youthful enthusiasm for my entire life to be delighted by what my eyes bring me each day.
This morning had that remarkable October Harvest weather that is *perfect.* A full compliment of hot air balloons had lifted lazily off from their launching pads, like a bubble expressed by Mother Nature herself. They drifted one-by-one into the morning sky that was almost more colorful than the ornamental flying machines.
The air itself smells of wine, and you can see (and I giggle at it) smashed grapes that have lost their balance and fallen into street intersections from the gondola trucks traversing the Valley. I have been visiting wineries lately, and have stepped over many a man-made mud puddle that is the color burgundy. Dusty, dirty, and grape-stained workers are everywhere bearing a look of fatigue that is offset with a glint and a tired smile that lets you know they are on the home-stretch.
Tasting rooms are packed, at least on the weekend, and traffic is slow along the major wine roads as awe-struck tourists stop every few feet to photograph the vines which undulate fall colors like moiré fabric.
I am not irritated by them. I myself uttered “wow” audibly three times during a commute to Calistoga — even though I was alone in my car. Today, anything that slows me down, keeps me looking and experiencing, is a blessing. The alternative is sitting here in front of this computer.