1985 Pinot Noir
i’ve only seen her in dreams and paintings in the summer house in france, sister anne-marie giboin, the woman who chose the convent rather than marry a man she did not care to love. my grandmother said we giboin women have always been like that—proud, passionate and holy — we’ve been poets, painters, dancers and teachers, for the world has always seemed so tragic to us, so full of sadness and suffering — but not without elegance, not without dignity and grace.
sometimes when it’s raining, i look out the window and try to imagine a woman who’d do a thing like that, give up the world — for religion, for love — it doesn’t matter what for. i look at my hands and press my nose against the cold, wet glass. am i really one of them or simply a spoiled and whimpering imposter?
once i took a pinot berry between my fingers and squeezed it into my mouth until it burst open like a soft summer evening and i saw visions of blue-hooded women praying in silence for the sick and dying, the poor and homeless, all those whom no one cared for, no one loved. so now, they’re always here with me, those women of spirit, those women of pride and passion, who stood on the mountains above the shrine of our lady of mercy and spread open their frail-thin arms to protect it from the driving winds and the rains — and the foolish young men who loved them.