We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like the vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and the season which we are born." - Carl Jung

Vineyards have always intrigued me. I love the circles of life a vineyard goes through, with a beauty and wonder in each of its seasons; just like we do as humans. My feeling about vineyards can really be summed up through a segment in the movie “Sideways” - "How it's a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your '61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline. And it tastes so f…king good."

I had an opportunity a few years ago to take a creative sabbatical to Sonoma during the harvest as I wanted to understand more about vineyards which were cultivated with the beautiful rhythm and balance of nature. I feel the way we cultivate and honor our Earth ripples out to our world in amazing ways.

I chose two vineyards to visit - Benziger which sits in a volcanic bowl - a biodynamic vineyard - using everything in the vineyard to attract health and wellbeing and to take the compost and put it back in the ground to yet birth another vintage. What I loved about this vineyard was they had an insectary - a garden that actually attracts good bugs into the vineyard and eats deleterious ones. It was an exquisite garden to behold. The other vineyard was Kunde Winery consisting of 1,850 acres which spanded the foothills of Sonoma to the top of the mountain. Kunde Family Winery embraces sustainable practices, and it's easy to experience this through the journey I was invited to take. I had the opportunity to meander through Benziger’s vineyards at my leisure, which I relished both in the early morning and late in the day. Meandering through a vineyard, which is about to be harvested is quite amazing; for as I meandered, my senses were heightened with the beauty of the land, and the fragrance of ripe grapes infusing my every step. The owner of Kunde Winery, provided one to their associates to drive me around the entire grounds, again at my leisure to capture beautiful images of this magical place. I also loved that they kept the old wine barn - which blended the old and new. This is an experience that will live in my heart forever, and confirmed how important it is for us to come into the rhythm and balance of nature in whatever way we can.

"The human soul is complex. So is Nature (or life, if you prefer). Creating a perfect interface

between the two results in a balance that one can recognize in an individual as a state of grace." ~ Author: Darrell Calkins

Nature always wears the colors of The Spirit. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve always been a nature girl - I feel I am nature. Yet, in what way were the seeds of my love for nature planted? For me, I recognized this love from the earliest time I can remember. I know when I was very young, my Mom and Grandparents introduced me to aspects of life which were fun, nurtured my curiosity, and actually came to be the elements which I still create with to this very day. And…I realize the essence of what I love is weaving the Spirit of the Divine with the natural world in all I enjoy and create.

Nature has a way of helping us tap into our inner wisdom and aligns us with what is important for our lives to thrive. When we approach nature with a heartfelt intention, focusing on the present and paying attention, we invite the natural world to lead us, we find insights which help us in our lives.

From these insights, we can strengthen our inner wisdom and we are less thrown off by the chaos in the world. I look at my time in nature and with the Divine as an oasis which stays with me throughout my day.

One experience I love when I’m in nature is to choose a quiet and comfortable location. Sit, or if you really feel comfortable, lay on the ground for about 20 minutes. At first the ground may feel hard, yet after a few minutes you will feel embraced by the Earth, you will be revitalized and when you open your eyes, all your senses will be heightened and filled with vibrant colors.

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people

when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers,

and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit,

and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. ~ Black Elk

I've had this song "We Are Family" playing in my head for the last week. Most likely because I love all Earth's Family and I feel we have the ability to come together in new and honoring ways. I wanted to share some of the lyrics with you, which I hope you will enjoy as well:

We are family - I got all my sisters with me.We are family - Get up everybody and sing.

Get up everybody and sing. Everyone can see we're together, as we walk on by and

we fly just like birds of a feather.

I won't tell no lie - all of the people around us they say can they be that close -

just let me state for the record - we're giving love in a family dose.

Living life is fun and we've just begun, to get our share of this world's delights,

high hopes we have for the future, and our goal's in sight - no, we don't get depressed

here's what we call our golden rule - have faith in you and the things you do.

You won't go wrong, oh no.

"Families are like branches on a tree.

We grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one."

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