I Hope I Remember This Night

I wrote the following poem on the evening of September 21, 2022 after attending a “Conversation” at Ashes & Diamonds winery in the Napa Valley. The presentation—by five winemakers—centered around the topic of sustainability. But, as tears in the audience revealed, it was much more.

I Hope I Remember This Night

By Karen MacNeil


I hope I remember

Before the last Monarch butterfly dies

Before flames incinerate the vines around us

Before drought cracks our throats dry…


I hope I remember

Before the boughs of redwoods burn brown

Before Round Up murders the soil

Before the land stiffens and the seas rise…


I hope I remember

Before flowing wines are replaced by syrup…


I hope I remember this night—September 21, 2022—when five winemakers

Weary from the scorching heat and sheeting rain

Sat under a darkening sky and told us what was coming.


Gathered, we were at a winery called Ashes & Diamonds

But Diamonds to Ashes was where we were headed.


In the audience, listening, it was impossible not to feel guilty—

Impossible not to stare at the ground and ask forgiveness.


This harvest, we thought about death and resurrection. (Carlo Mondavi)

Heat storms have thrown us crashing into the sun. (Steve Matthiasson)

What is happening to our earth is hard to witness. (Diana Snowden Seysses)

We can’t believe that what we are doing now is right. (Mimi Casteel)

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? (Robin Lail)



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