My first year of college has started, and it wasn't until now that I see just how much life the world is filled with. I can’t seem to find the words to describe these first couple of weeks. I try, but stop. Only finding that what I want to say is a strange taste on the tip of my tongue and feels like waves of pressure both on my chest and stomach. There's just too much to say and too much to try to describe. My eyes are open, but I have no idea what in I am looking at. Too many times this summer I looked up and realize that I was mute and internally silent when looking at what is before me. I'm not saying I'm alone, and I'm not saying I'm right, but to sit back from it all, breath in, and realize that the entire world is vibrating around you is an indescribable experience. I can only say that the world is alive, and I with it, but not to the expansion of its entirety; simply, it's beautiful.
There's just so much to see, and so much I think I've seen. In all of my previous letters, I began and ended with the accounts of my summers, but I can't grab a word--let alone a slew of them--that capture even a glimmer of this summer. I think though there's a sentiment that's worth saying. In the four months that I was able to experience over the summer, I can firmly say that my life is fluid and just beginning.
I can remember colors rolling over my mind when I think specifically of the cities that I've seen, or maybe I can feel something indescribable roll over me when I think of certain people I've gotten to know. I can remember walking around New York City for the first time, amazed and wanting to walk around in a city I knew not where to go, or whether what I was seeing was the real thing. I remember days in Oregon, where the red grit, blown around by the dry eastern wind added a *snap* to your bite and the sun stuck you to the melting tar of asphalt and telephone poles. I remember the familiar weight of a backpack, and the silent solitude and immediate grin I found with a burst of energy to talk to any and all people that I came across. I heard cries across the streets that bounded across traffic lanes: "practice non certainty" or "one look can kill!" I felt the highest highs of a sunny afternoon and the funny, kind of, sweet melancholy that hits one in an empty house on a cloud covered night when the night before laughter and blurred lines crisscrossed--I found that Robert Johnson fixed that, this was a huge find for me.
Days dragged, reality blurred, the stack of books grew taller, and the finished one's grew in step. In the longest summer of my life, the more I learnt, the more I realized how little I knew before, and I began to love the unease and uncertainty even more. I felt detached, open, and pleasantly gone; aloof and crazy, no more! I made a point to watch, to breath, to enjoy, to sit and relax, to just walk and walk for the purpose of walking; to eat and eat time; to talk, to listen, and to observe. There is no brevity in it, only memories, detached and innumerable. When I look back, I find it hard to pin anything specific about this past summer; it all flows to me when it will, and makes it seem like there was no life that I lived before June. The simple thing that I wish to say is that I enjoyed all that I could, and unlike previous newsletters, you couldn't ask me to sum it all up. That's something that I didn't know before sitting down and writing this, and after completing the virtual version of writing and crumpling drafts--decorating the interior and landscapes of my wastebasket-- I find that I can't, and honestly, I'm okay with that.
Now you can find me in a place far from home, and far from the comforts of fall weather that I used to recognize as the mark of the beginning of the school year. The days of crisp sunlight and brittle leaves, dried to the texture of parchment, scraping along the ground in cold gusts of air--ask any East Coaster, they'll know--with pleasant bitterness, are no longer things that I can find in the changing seasons. My life is different, and on it's axis, but I smile every time I see the ocean with familiar awe that I can't comprehend where my world is right now. I'm in college, and the experience is far more different than anything I would've hoped to describe. My life here didn't begin with a bang or a whimper, but melted into some weird dream state where I don't think I'll ever get bored of walking through trees on my way to class or reading in the grass by the library. It's like living on the surface of something grand, knowing full well what I'm about to experience is both on the horizon and entirely unexplainable. It's my life and I'm giddy just to know that what I've felt in the last month of school is more than I've felt a year back home. Whatever scope seems to be open is beyond anything I've ever known.
That being said, I couldn't be here without the opportunities granted to me by a few loving people. She never said a word about her place in this letter, but to be closer to Janie and her family leaves me a little more comfortable after such a move. Though I find time to procrastinate or skip out on my work, the models of Janie, my mom, and Tad--among others, believe me--bring me back to realize that if I want something, I must be selfish, and grapple it for my own good, rather let the opportunity lie in fallow. I've been granted something in this life that most people never get--at a cost mind you-- and I hope that I make the right decisions; however, now is my time to find what the right decisions are, and my world is just beginning. I want to enter it without the shadow of my father or the responsibility of maybe running the winery. I am the owner, yes, but I didn't build it, nor did I help it grow--it's now on a foundation I don't think even my father could have seen. He left us this, and in his absence it's grown to reflect not only him, but also all of us in one way or another. I know that it's in good hands and will continue to be so, look at where it is now. But I can never fully appreciate the business if I don't go out and forge my own way. If I find my own trail back to the winery, so be it, but in the meantime I need to explore this world and find what makes me fire on all cylinders and excited to say for whom and what I work for.
I've been told to make it in the wine industry, one must have an obsessive trait. The people who work in it and make wines in such a difficult market do so because they are passionate about it and they could not imagine their life any other way, and in doing so, follow their calling in order to complete their lives. They're following what they really want, and put it all on the line in order to live authentic lives. They are all good templates of what makes a model human being; hardworking, honest, and hopefully humble; but now it's my turn to follow in their footsteps and find what seizes me, throwing the structure that I know on it's axis; I have to find my healthy obsession, my reason for living.
I hope you all enjoy what you can, and accept the uncertainty of everything life throws at you. I'm finding it's never as plain as it seems, and perhaps more enjoyable if not apart from the dull. There is so much wonder and so much to be seen, even little and close by, so do as my father said and "live large"; eat, drink, and be happy, the simple things remain the best