My husband and I have recently returned from spending twelve days in France, precisely ten days in Bordeaux, France, and two days in Paris, France. The Bordeaux jaunt organized by Eric Genau, President and Wine Director of City Wine Merchant, was a dream trip, a real once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Eric organized thirteen Château Tours with Tastings, nine seated meals, three restaurants having Michelin stars, and three champagne receptions. He also managed Château and hotel accommodations in Léognan, France, and Saint-Émilion, France. Bill and I applaud Eric for his stellar tour and attention to detail; he precisely checked all the luxury boxes.
I have returned home wanting to garden my heart out; the story of wine and the earth and the seemingly perfectly hand pruned rows upon rows of vineyards makes me want to touch and tidy everything in my sightline. My husband has returned home wanting to drink and cellar French wines, his love affair with French wines just now beginning. We make quite the pair; I will be in the dirt, he will be reading, studying, and buying, and we will come together at the end of the day to enjoy our mutual efforts; garden, home, food, and wine—bonus points when family and friends are with us.
Sure, the above sounds all storybook, yet I know it takes countless hours of work and determination to make anything good come true. The Châteaux we visited all had histories of growth and struggle, much like life itself, constantly growing, sometimes one step forwards and two steps back, and usually struggling.
I have diligently spent two hours in the garden each day, experiencing so much beauty outdoors and wanting some of that feel in our backyard. It’s been freezing out there, and it doesn’t matter. It’s not glamorous work; I’m pruning, raking, edging, and hauling large piles of debris and making a massive pile on our driveway. If the winemakers can stay up three nights in a row keeping their vines warm with fans and candles when frost settles in after bud-break, I can certainly take two hours each day during daylight and invest myself in our outdoor space.
Disclaimer: I started the draft of this post over a month ago and have since been in multiple locations, never really settled, packing and unpacking, and finding it challenging to finish anything I start. There isn’t anyone who can save me from the anxiety I feel when not completing a task except myself, so here I am picking up from where I left off. I haven’t been able to spend two hours each day in the garden, and I haven’t been writing. Instead, I’ve been darting around, celebrating, feeding, and caring for this big family I love. That’s a good thing.
Anyway, I need to begin again somewhere, so here we are. Bill said to me upon our return that the French pay attention. While we were heavily pruning apple trees side by side in our country garden, we had that feeling of paying attention, and it was great. My takeaway is to look more closely at what’s happening around me, consider how to make things better, and proceed with thought and care.
Every day dress: notice, consider, care.