Our existence is thick with interconnected layers. Some are physical, like geologic blankets on an Earthen bed. Some are incorporeal, but no less momentous, as when our slightest actions weave a most complex web of effects upon others. The complexity of these effects is so startling, the more you think on it, that it almost makes one afraid to exhale. Each of us drives the entire world. The bee dance seems primitive, random, until you understand its utility and beauty, and then you see that a single bee drives its entire world. If the bee does not perform its dance properly, the other bees will not find the blooms. If the far-flung flowers are not pollinated, then there is no fruit. If there is no fruit, then the village goes hungry. If the village goes hungry, then the young people leave. If the young people leave, they make revolution in the city . . . and this all springs from the ability of a single honeybee to do its dance?
The simple view of my wine business is that I recommend wines to friends, who may or may not buy them. But that ignores a universe of complexity that lies beneath. If you buy a wine, enjoy it, and comment favorably, that reinforces my belief in the wine. and I may tend to recommend similar wines. If you don't like it so much, that affects my view, too. Our puny West Portland wine buzz might be picked up by a wine writer somewhere, and suddenly our little-known darling wine is in the national spotlight. And so much of this is random. The most amazing thing can happen, but is anybody listening? Wine scores are silly. What do you like? And if you don't buy a wine, is that just the weak economy, or full cellars, or should I change my recommendations? Is it the frailties of our language, which is so utterly unable to describe a wine? So many questions. Should the artist make what she sees as beautiful, or should she make what will sell? Ah, the layers.
And yet all our palates are ever-changing, layered in ever-swirling strata affected by our mood, by the weather, by a glass. We are not machines--our senses' sensitivity ebbs and flows. Today just might not be a good nose day. There are so many variables that a supercomputer could not be programmed to account for them all.
Thinking of three very good wines offered this year, one sold like hotcakes for $8.75, one sold darn respectably for $25, but the third one-heartily pumped thrice by yours truly--hardly sold at all for $8.50. Explain that to me.
We humans are so impressionable. If we notice what we see and hear and feel, it makes us either more assured in our beliefs, or more curious about changing them. As much as we revel in each other's unique personality, as much as we love to buy land (what? own the Earth?) and construct boxes of our own on it, in which we take refuge from others, we are still community animals. We affect each other in ways we cannot imagine. Simply occupying the same space makes us all brothers and sisters, in an incredibly intimate sense. Sharing air, sharing future memories, sharing wine.
Sharing layers of meaning that enrich our lives.