A winter vineyard - nothing special in our county which is part of the wine country and has many many vineyards. They spread up slopes, cover hills and line the roads.
This particular vineyard is right by the side of the highway in Sonoma Valley with a very convenient lay-by. Over the past six months it has become a landmark on our road to Davis. In my mind it connects me to my daughter.
On my way to Davis when I want to pick up Kaefer for break or a weekend it's a most beautiful view. Even in the rain or on a gray day it appears sunny and colorful to me. I'm on my way to my favorite girl, knowing we will spend the next few days together. It's joyful anticipation. A few hours later when we return we are already deep in conversation, she has told me about her life in the dorm, her classes and her friends. Both of us always stop talking when we pass this vineyard, remembering the day in November when we first really saw it while it was glowing in the brilliant colors of fall.
But there are also the other days when we pass it - when Kaefer is returning to college, leaving home over and over again. While I always enjoy the drive with her sharing thoughts and laughter, my heart is heavy at the same time. Seeing the vineyard means saying goodbye to her in a couple hours and driving back home alone. Back to a home still full of love, but so very quiet.
When I pass the vineyard again later in the day, I actually enjoy my company, listening to music and singing along. The vineyard marks the beginning of the home stretch - 30 more minutes and I will be back where I belong, in the arms of the Geek. A home full of love.