Goodness, Gracious and the Sonoma Valley Vineyard

A dense patch of clouds blows a canopy over a vineyard in Sonoma, California.

I suppose I should think of grapes, or wine, or the beauty of California Wine Country when I see this picture. Instead, the photo makes me reflect on the most gracious woman I know.

As it turns out, I married her.

It was Erica’s birthday and she had chosen to celebrate by escaping Sacramento — just the two of us — for a stay in the Napa Valley. She probably could have used a few days to herself for a bit of pampering. After all, she likes to relax and read during her travels, and afterward to discover good eats. Meanwhile, I like to explore every nook and crannie spouting justifications like, “How often will we be here anyway?” And yet she still brought me along.

On our second day we drove up into the forest between the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Like the chicken who crossed the road, I wanted to see the other side …of the mountain range and the Sonoma Valley that it guarded. I had never been to this lesser known of the two valleys of the Wine Country, and I was eager to explore with camera in hand. And Erica was continuing to humor me.

I suppose that it hit me when I pulled the car over to snap some photos of this particular vineyard. You see, we were looking for the best Sushi in Sonoma, and the urgency was growing with each grumble of our bellies that reminded us we were well past lunch time. And yet I selfishly pulled over again. This was not the first time that day Erica obliged me to stop what were doing to take some photos. And in fact I fear that I’ve probably asked this same favor of Erica a few hundred times since I began my foray into photography.

While standing in the moist Sonoma Valley soil, in front of this dramatic vineyard, I came to my realization; Each time I’ve stolen away to snap a photo, Erica has offered me grace and patience as I do so. I saw then that she continually delights in seeing me happy and throwing my whole self into my photographic pursuits. I wondered then why she hadn’t protested more on that afternoon. And I wonder now why she is willing to help critique these blog posts and photo selections when she has so many concerns of her own.

You’ve probably begun to see that I feature photos on Fits and Stops that elicit an emotional response from me. I was knocked for a loop where I stood that day. In that vineyard I was, and I am, supremely full of gratitude for this woman.

I thanked God for my wife, and I loved her deeply all over again. So I wised up, packed up the camera, ran back to my waiting wife and sped toward sushi.

This one’s for you, Erica. I don’t deserve you.

When was the last time you were dumbstruck by love you’ve been shown? Tell us all about it below…


  • Steve Hadeen 03-27-2015

    nice blog PJ. Remember….happy wife equals happy life! Lol…Penelope shows the same support for me

    • P.J. Oswald 03-27-2015

      Thanks for checking the blog out, Steve!

      It is good to have loved ones who enable our photography addictions, isn’t it? 🙂

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