Au Naturel

Drive-by winter field, Slingerlands, NY

Have you heard of nature deficit disorder?  Usually mentioned in relation to kids these days growing up with a lack of dirt-digging and tree-climbing…it’s a real thing, or so the docs say.

Consider me a believer.  Living in Brooklyn, I crave me some mountains.  Despite NYC’s farmers markets, rooftop gardens, climbing ivy, sidewalk sprigs, Amelia’s fig tree, Edith’s blue bells, rainy day worms, daffodils, ducks, my cactus cultivation attempts, Union Square’s lone magnolia, great big parks, small patches of green, and other blips of nature in between- the vitality of the great outdoors cannot be replicated or dosed out.  It just can’t.  The way it puts our bodies in their most primal rhythm, our minds at unbelievable ease, its pine, birch, moss, spruce, dead grass, live grass, lilacs, and a bit of space for their melancholy scent to travel- are meant to be gulped if we are thirsty, sipped if we feel like going slow.  Mother Earth.  She’s good.

For city dwellers, an entire world of worlds await us at our clumsy doorsteps.  No shortage of inspiration- it almost comes too easily (until, of course, we remember that this is the benefit of living in a city so hard).  And if we’re here, it’s because we love it…or something close enough…

…and I thought of that old joke, you know,

the, this, this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says,

Doc, uh, my brother’s crazy, he thinks he’s a chicken,’

and uh, the doctor says, ‘well why don’t you turn him in?’

And the guy says, ‘I would, but I need the eggs.’

-Alvy Singer, Annie Hall, 1977 

We can have it all.  Except the nature thing- that’s not to be found in an east or west village, on a graffiti-filled borough wall, Minetta, Waverly, Broadway, or Broome- it’s different.

When I begin to feel that… deficit… I open a bottle of wine (surprised?).  If we drink a wine responsibly farmed from a healthy plot of earth, a cure for the Brooklyn blues isn’t such a stretch.  Just a touch of dandelion (rosemary, mint, violet, bark, thyme, sea, sun, and sky too) may do the trick.

Because you can find a forest.  In a 750 ml. bottle.  Perhaps enchanted- dark and brambly, swallowing visitors whole, setting spirits free.  Fermenting witches, princes, dragons, treasure trunks, friendly thieves.  Snow White and her dwarves setting up house in a bottle of Cahors.  Like one of my recent favorites from Chateau de Chambert .  Or Monteforche’s Garganega, made by Alfonso Soranzo– former horn player, current champion of Colli Euganei soil.  Lucky for us, these are just two of the great many wines on the market that can bring us to that natural place.  If we drink them at the right time, on the right day,  we are golden (Steiner! how did you sneak into this fairy tale?  Glad to have you.).

And I’m not talking about “natural wine” here.  Well, actually that’s a total lie.  Natural wine is exactly what I am talking about, but I was going to try not to drive home the dreaded term as I’m in full agreement with the sentiments expressed in this January post from Jeremy (a little potty talk here, but his blog is brilliant).  The core of the topic of natural wine is fully important, but has been beat to so fine a pulp that it may as well be made into true blue denim, proudly worn by every progressive wine geek out there.  We’re all heroes.  We’re all guilty.  It’s better than a market void of awareness, but I think it’s been fleshed out to a point where should take what we will from the conversation and simply make it habit.  Be the change.  Stuff like that.

But I veer…from the trail…which I was hiking along…you should join me…we’ll dine at the top…I packed a bottle of this foggy aligoté …like pleasantly sour honey and small daisies… pollen and particles float in warm sunshine…a nap on a picnic blanket while crickets chirp nearby, and…

Found a lake in the Sierra Mtns. Glimmer.