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October 17, 2009

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This isn't the most interesting picture in itself but it reminds me of an uplifting end to a wonderful day. Dan Mourek treated me to a 2-day tasting tour of southern Moravian wine cellars in the border towns of Mikulov, Bavory, and Perná. It was cold and overcast at first but the sun broke through as we tromped from vintner to vintner (16 in all), over large hills, up rock outcroppings, and through picturesque vineyards. Two large luxury coaches had been chartered to shuttle the tasters back in shifts but even that was barely enough, every seat taken and people packing the aisles. By chance I was seated with some fun-loving Slovaks who saw the bottles in my takeaway bag and asked if I wanted to open one. I said sure but I didn't have an opener so we tried improvising with keys but that didn't work so they asked the bus driver and sure enough he passed back a corkscrew and I poured it all around. Eventually about a dozen of us convened in a restaurant around this large table. The top alone was 10 feet long, 3 feet wide and 2 inches thick. It was hugely overbuilt, a seemingly immovable object. Alone, I couldn't budge it. I proposed an experiment--if everyone stood and grabbed hold I was sure we could lift it. Maybe just an inch.... It was effortless, as if levitating, and it kept rising until it was at eye level and everyone was laughing. Nothing tipped or spilled, not even the vase so tall and slim. It was such a visceral and joyous experience, a simple illustration of human potential and the power of cooperation. Later, I fell asleep smiling thinking about it.