Back in June of 2011, I wrote a blog about planting a lemon tree that was a gift from the Million Trees Planted Campaign. Well…three years later…that little tree has birthed its first lemon. It’s been growing unseen in the shadows for who knows how long? A few weeks? A month? I’d never noticed it.

Lemon baby

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See it there all proud and perfect in the picture? I dare not think how much precious water that darling little lemon required. But of course, that’s not the point. So what is the point? Well, there’s cycle of life stuff to consider, the persistence of nature to ruminate about, or the simple pleasures of gardening.

What struck me about the lemon was the secret world it represented, a life happening in the shadows all around us. The world swirls and I do not need to keep it spinning. It’s a great relief, truly, to know that everything revolves and will continue to revolve without any influence from me and long after I’m gone.

Megalomaniac-Cartoon

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That sentiment sounds odd, I know, more than odd, acutely narcissistic surely, bordering on megalomania.

And yet it fits with how I feel this Saturday morning…a certain sense of freedom from it all. I didn’t realize how tightly I’ve been holding onto the balloon. I released the string.

Let’s go wine tasting I nearly yelled out loud to Annette!

During the years we’ve spent in St. Thomas, a diverse and active wine region has developed in the Malibu mountains not more than 20-30 minutes from our house. And like the lemon, all this vineyarding has been going on without any help from me.

Vineyards with names like Agua Dulce Winery, Malibu Wines, Saddlerock Ranch, Cielo Vineyards, Rosenthal Estate Wines, Bernard’s, Cornell, Triunfo Creek, etc., dot the mountains, squeezed in among the local chaparral.

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Some are spectacularly beautiful, like Rocky Oaks Estate perched high on a hill.

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Others are exquisitely picturesque, a part of the SoCal lifestyle of sun, mountain and surf, like Malibu Coastal Vineyard.

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Midday tasting

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We headed to Malibu & Vine Tasting, which is located at the Malibu golf club and offers a beautiful picnic area of tables and umbrellas and outdoor music. You bring your own food, taste their wine and buy a bottle to match whatever is in your picnic basket.

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I made turkey sandwiches. Nettie added tabouli, olives, chips. We tasted a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, a Zinfandel, and decided on the cab. We found a table, put up the umbrella…and tried not to feel too guilty at our delicate and perfumed lifestyle.

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I wouldn’t call us newshounds, but we are informed as most everyone is these days. It’s nearly impossible not to be with all the technology that plugs into us and we into it. The litany of troubles is long and immediate. They will remain anonymous here.

ukraine

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Instead we heard about new lives from other countries and other cultures…a female lawyer from the Ukraine joined us briefly and we heard about her experiences here in the U.S. and there on the Russia Border.

Iranians

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We played Jenga and chatted with three Iranian kids who were Jews not Muslims and we heard the tale of their outsider status.

We watched a Chinese wedding shower unfold. We spoke to a crowded table of ionized water salespeople. Yes, true. Ionized water for purer hydration. Who knew?

Hipsters

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I snapped pictures of hipsters from L.A.

Singer

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We met the New Zealand singer/songwriter, whose songs were dark and lonesome but unable to chill the California sun.

The afternoon sparkled. It crackled. It swirled with life and the people we met and stories we exchanged.

And through it all, I kept thinking about that tiny lemon in my backyard and how this life all around me was so much like that lemon living right out here in the open…in the shadow of my eyes.

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5 Responses to A Baby Lemon In The Shadows

  1. Susanne says:

    Hi Frank,

    I am working in Walla Walla. Tim is here with me and every chance we get we wine taste – over 90 wineries here – just WINEderful!
    Great article!

    Susanne

  2. Elyce Wakerman says:

    I read this while vacationing in France and New York, both of which have been colorful, exciting, full of discovery. Nice to be reminded of the bountiful as well as simple pleasures of Southern California.

  3. Frank Z says:

    Really nice, Frank. It’s a good reminder of how we go on trips far away all the time, but actually, we don’t have to travel very far to get a diverse experience and feel like we are ‘away’ from our normal routine even just for a little while. This is why we live here (still!) -Virginia

  4. Dave says:

    I have a lemon and a lime bush growing on my balcony… enjoying the fruits in my cocktails…. but I worry about all that water, especially given our drought here in SoCal….

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