| June 8, 2018
Gigantic, ancient trees to the right; lush, rolling hills to the left. Here a vineyard, there a vineyard, everywhere a vineyard, each with its own unique vibe. After a week in San Francisco and Sonoma, where old friendships were honored, new friendships were begun, wonderful food was enjoyed, the occasional cocktail was had and a brilliant wedding was celebrated, we journeyed north to Portland, Oregon to visit with our Rumseys and surprise a former student – much, much more than a student, truth be told, but we’ll get to her in a minute.
First, the Rumseys, with whom we became instant friends, just add water, nearly three years ago. We recognized a, shall we say, eccentric charm in each other immediately; were all seemingly on the verge of dramatic change when we met; jumped off cliffs nearly at the same time; and now find ourselves living very different lives, in very different locales. I think its safe to say, we are much less fearful of growing old, than we are of growing bored or boring. And now, visiting them at their new mini-vineyard, we’re immediately and comfortably joined at the hip once more and can congratulate each other on just how not-boring we are…at least to us. It’s a wonderful thing.
They’ve been sharing their Portland, which is a pretty terrific thing to share. It’s everything you want it to be, as it turns out – comfortable, casual, eccentric, diverse, laid back, beautiful, and wine-y! Much like our host and hostess. Nice!
Which also brings us to our visit-the-vineyards-and-do-the-wine-tasting-thing day.
We are on our way to a fantastically funky vineyard named Big Table Farm, complete with chickens, pigs, dogs, horses, Goatio the goat, and cows, one of whom is named Coco Chanel because, why wouldn’t she be? This place has character for days and produces a fine array of delicious, delectable wine-goodness, thanks to the talents and sensitivity of winemaker Brian Marcy, who is, in short, amazing and kind of Zen about the whole thing, and his wife, Clare Carver, who is an artist and farmer and award-winning label designer and marketing genius and storyteller and hostess and did I say black belt? She’s remarkable, she’s memorable, she’s a force of nature, and she owns permanent real estate in my heart.
Ya see, Clare had been a student of mine many years ago. I think it’s an incredible thing, if you let your brain go totally free and then tune in to the Pin-ball aspect of it, and you stop for a second and listen for real and realize that this person in front of you, is talking to you and you’re hearing it and your inner voice is saying, “Yes, this is someone I know, this is someone I need to know better, this is someone I will know forever.” And time passes and you realize that, quietly and naturally, you’ve both let it happen, both made it happen, both chosen to have it happen, long distance, with long breaks and it doesn’t matter because you’re both just so inspired by and appreciative of the presence in each other’s lives. I could go on…obviously.
I had the remarkable privilege of teaching for several years – many students, many classes, many different experiences and personalities. Some have stayed with me in a way that they color my existence, and I’m grateful for that. And a very few have stayed with me, in the corners of my brain, and have become a part of my inner conversations and are with me every day – Clare is one of these very few. Her brain is a wonderland, her inner creative voice is an orchestra of possibilities. She doesn’t understand the word “No.” She responds to a dare and conquers it. She questions, then learns; challenges, then overcomes. She is one of the strongest, most original, most generous, most talented people I’ve ever known.
And so, yes, imagine the impact when we succeeded in surprising her and we met again twenty years later and we hugged and we beamed and isn’t that the very best part of life? Yes, I think so. I revel in her talent and am thrilled to have been a participant along the way and a witness to the adventure. So good!
Of course she invited us to a true farm lunch at the big table, of course she shared her talents and her wares and her stories. And amongst those stories was a great one about a visit from Pink and her entourage, who came for a tasting and stayed for much more than that. And even though Pink is Pink, and even though some seriously entertaining stuff happened during their time together, Clare let it slip, in all sincerity, that our surprise visit and time together was Better Than Pink! And I think Pink would totally understand and appreciate that. And personally, the thought and the reference will keep me warm through winter.
This has been a week of friendships – necessary friendships, friendships that are somehow preordained and have no other choice than to be. A childhood friend, a long term friend, a student friend, several mature friends, and a very special new friend, who is already part of my fiber. We grow, we change, we share, we become more than before. The point, I think, is to chose wisely – or instinctively, as the case may be. We are who we know, at the end of the day. How lucky for me that I know so many uniquely wonderful do-it-their-way people. There’s a term for that kind of good fortune. It’s…
Better Than Pink!
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