“If Napa Valley can’t be saved, nothing can.”
We our born into this world. Our eyes see in our youth a mother and father in the foreground. Behind our parents nurturing is the land we find ourselves by the miracle of life to be chanced upon.
Here is some piece of knowing something because you are born into it. In all my years I have again and again visited the Napa Valley. And it is not a sudden shock I speak to. It is of something we piece together in blocks of time; our youth, our teens, when we were courting our first wife, or for a reunion of the men we spent high school with, or now when I visit Yountville where a nephew cooks at one of the valleys most exclusive Micheline rated restaurants.
I witness the collective doing. I see what where I am from has become, is becoming. My interest in good red wine is ordinary at best. The few times I’ve tasted wine that can change me is not empty of value, but to be sure I’ve tasted poems that have clung to my pallet and hung meaning to my life in ways that have outlasted anything I have ever pleasured the taste of.
You see what is happening to the Napa Valley is not a phenomenon. It is happening across the globe. The testimonials of mankind’s impact upon the earth is relentless, it torture’s hope and dream.
Somewhere between my birth and now we have witnessed the end of frontier. There is not another valley over that mountain range to settle. No virgin forest to fall. No river left to dam.
Now there is this slow, odd sense that we have in this moment spread out across the earth and finally occupied her.
We are not wired up to be alarmed by alarm. Only some human beings take the warning signs as a matter to act upon.
Now drought has bitten into the last decade and the financial crisis ought to be factored into the circumstances as well. And until an almost near now the matter of drought and climate change has been more theory than a matter of present moment concern. That does suit us. We are all easily distracted by the fierce urgency of now to be too concerned by problems we identify as long term.
And so we are left to wonder aren’t we? Who will save us from ourselves? Where is our Lincoln of the times? Is there an Einstein that can explain it to us? Some Charlie Chaplin or Elvis? Who is it that could open our minds and change the course of human history? Now I want to be there for that speech. I want tickets to that concert. I want to leave more than a poster on a wall that celebrated a place that by our collective chaotic presence we render uninhabitable.