It's hot here. Hot and humid. As a flock of kids and I walked to a camp about a mile away each morning this week, the air hung heavy with the cloyingly sweet fragrances of camillias and honeysuckle, magnolias and lilies. Instead of keeping a steady pace, as ex-New Yorkers like me are determined to do, I found myself giving in to the slow, steady heartbeat of the Southern heat. Slowing down so much, in fact, that at one point I thought we were actually walking backwards. Slipping for a moment of cool under a low-hanging tree branch that we dubbed The Secret Garden, where we found a bird's nest. Straying off the sidewalk into a ditch to pick wild blackberries. Pondering why the field of milkweed, the only host plant of the migrating monarch butterfly, had been mowed down. Singing lazy harmonies to moody, bluesy showtunes that you'd never expect today's children to have even ever heard, let alone know. Waving hello to that man with the little dog and that lady with the transistor radio. Pumping arms so that truck drivers blow their horns. And finally holding hands, a long string of us, and digging the final burst of energy from deep inside so we can run across the non-crosswalked street during a temporary lull of minivans with moms on cell phones.
It is so hot that when I went outside barefoot to bring the garbage can back in from the street, I burned by feet and thought, "It is so hot you could fry an egg on the street." Which, in fact, I then proceeded to do.
And so this is the kind of day during which I discovered Persimmon Creek Vineyard's Seyval Blanc wine. Persimmon Creek is a 101-acre estate nestled among Lakes Burton and Rabun in the Northeast Georgia mountains, on the banks of Persimmon Creek, where vines grow in the natural contour of the landscape.
I opened the wine expecting something light, in my wine ignorance, because it was white and I usually drink red, and thinking that would be refreshing on the kind of day where the hot, stale heat of the garage was actually a relief after being outdoors. The first sip, however, was so completely different than what I expected. It was thick and buttery, fragrant with hints of melon and somehow seemed to say to me, "I know. It's hot. Sit down."
And sure enough, when I sat and waited, sipping slowly, the slightest of breezes touched the tips of the leaves on my fig tree and danced a slow ballet through the bean teepee, landing delicately on the tail of a mockingbird perched on the weathered wood fence behind the blackberry brambles. And the heady evergreen scent of juniper bushes wafted through the air as the unexpectedly fruity taste of a wine made just 87 miles from me helped me kiss the sun goodbye. Until tomorrow, when once again, the sun will blaze and sweat will pour and the heat will once again demand that we slow down.
Click here to find out more about Persimmon Creek Vineyard, including details about a Jazz in July event that features a dinner of Georgia-sourced ingredients. To find out more about summer in Atlanta, go to Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City and stand behind a bus. Yep. That's what it feels like. But somehow nicer, if you give in to it.