I’ve been trying to compose this in my mind in the weeks before Father’s Day but had trouble getting it to a final form. I’ve been thinking about the idea of leaving space. This takes many forms; leaving space for others, leaving space for beliefs that are different from your own, leaving space to be surprised. No doubt you have thought of your own reasons.
This past Father’s Day had me remembering my maternal grandfather, who was also named Bill. He was a teamster when that still meant driving a team of horses. He had a lot of jobs, hard jobs, unforgiving jobs. By the time I got to know him he had survived a couple of strokes and his speech was hard to understand. He also had difficulty hearing and I always remember the hearing aid with the cord trailing from his earpiece to the amplifier which was in his shirt pocket. He died when he was sixty-seven and I was in middle school. I didn’t know him very well and probably didn’t make much of an effort to change that.
Years later, when I was a first year in college I had a vivid dream about my grandfather. I called my mother to tell her. She said, “You know your grandfather was born in Lewiston,” the town where my alma mater resides. I didn’t. He spent the first years of his life within about a mile of where I sat talking to my mother. Some years after that I found some boxes of my grandfather’s. He liked to oil paint. And he had a small collection of jazz albums which started my appreciation of that genre. I knew the shell of a person my grandfather had become, hampered by his lack of speech and hearing and hadn’t made space for him to be anything else. That was my loss. But having a love of art and music connects me to him now as it did not then. And, it causes me to believe that there may be a love of beauty in everyone and to look for it. To leave space for it. Especially to leave space to be surprised.
I am fortunate to work with people who do love beauty, and who leave a lot of space for me to explore my own path as a winegrower. I hope that is reflected in Winderlea’s wines.- Bill Sweat, Winegrower