The vineyard is now all young and new. It actually began twenty years ago when I bought the property my home is on. There were two other lots with it on which were seven grapevines and thirty six citrus trees. At the time they were all thriving and fruitful; fulfilling their reason for being – the ‘why’. I sold the lots with the trees and vines to someone who didn’t really have any interest in being a farmer. After years of neglect they all became unfruitful and unsightly. After an inspiring trip to California in 2009 I asked my neighbor if I could attempt to restore the vines to fruitfulness to which he agreed. I cut the vines back so there was nothing but the trunk left. I carefully selected the strongest canes to emerge from the trunk and allowed those to grow. After two years of intensive care the old vines began to yield fruit but it was small and diseased. The vines were terminally ill and had to go. It was time to move on and plant anew. I hated the thought of getting rid of the old vines with their history as old as my house. They had always been there; always been a part of the landscape. And it was hard physical work to extract them too. It is easier to give birth than to raise the dead. I had a vision for a fruitful vineyard and that vision wasn’t going to come to pass if I kept putting my emotional, physical and financial resource into these beautiful but unhealthy, unfruitful old vines. For everything there is a time and a season. The time had come to say goodbye. In his book, “Necessary Endings”, Henry Cloud said: “Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth itself demands that we move on.” Its true about the vines and people too. “Without the ability to end things, people (organizations and vines too) stay stuck, never becoming who they were meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.” The old vines are gone.
Three years ago I began planting new vines. After two years of patient nurture (including pruning) I harvested a crop from the first plantings. This year I expect a threefold increase because the second plantings will mature and be fruitful and because I have pruned the already mature vines. Again Henry Cloud says: “Pruning is strategic. It is directional and forward – looking. It is intentional toward a vision, desires and objectives that have been clearly defined and are measurable. If you have that, you know what a rose is, pruning will help you get one of true beauty.” I’ve seen what unpruned vines become and that is not my vision for the vineyard. My goals and objectives are clearly defined and measurable: beautiful, healthy vines that yield thirty to fifty pounds of fruit each. Last week it was pruning time and as I pruned my sights were set on what will be. I can’t wait until summer! More tomorrow.