When Matt and I were carving out a new life together, we adopted a garden plot in a community garden. Our plot came with a pre-existing grape vine, so even in the fall of our first months as we were removing several years worth of thistle and other weeds to prepare for the next season, there were beautiful red grapes to pick and eat...a foretaste of the kingdom.
Four planting seasons ago, we "adopted" Dot's house. Dot loved gardening, and the yard we acquired, like our community garden plot, was full of many beautiful pre-existing treats - lilies, Chinese cherry, ragged and overlooked blackberry canes. But there was no vegetable garden and no grape vine. At the end of season two, Matt planted two hopeful grape vines. Season three they limped along, but no grapes.
Last spring those vines were among the earliest signs of life and color we found. I love the was the leaves morph through fleshy colors like tan to beige to pink, then lavender that eventually fades to whit and silver and finally many shades of green.
And by high summer, those vines hung thick with tiny little grapes. And by August, those grapes blushed red and purple.
Those vines heard us questioning them. More an once they'd blown down in a wind storm. More an once we wondered if their real estate should be dedicated to greater productivity.
And the joy they provide is not just in the fruit, but in this range of life forms they represent throughout the year. Here on the earliest days of warm sunshine I wait to find the first swelling leaf buds, the first furry tendrils of life, the stunning colors that unfold day by day.