There is a decided therapeutic value in savoring the good things of this life--love of family, fellowship of friends, a job well done, a meal well cooked, books, movies, plays, concerts, travel, coffee, and wine. This is just my partial list of things that make being here worthwhile. You have your own list, of course, and it's good to review it from time-to-time. Today, I want to concentrate on two items that I expect will appear on the personal lists of most followers of this journal: books and wine.

Books are great because they are an efficient way to use language and writing to convey information and inspiration widely. This conveyance is facilitated these days by electronic means--computers and the Internet--but it's still reading, and it's how Hemingway, and Dante, Arrian, and other voices, spread across time, speak to us. Their words are contained in books and we find those that speak best to us. We seek them out, and that makes us book-lovers.

I've written a lot of book reviews about books I've read that have especially touched me, both fiction and nonfiction. (You can find them on my page in Book Likes). Writing a review is, for me, a way to savor what I've gotten from a book, especially fiction. It's how I appreciate its aroma, its texture and the nuances of its flavor. You know, it's a lot like appreciating wine.

I've long had a fondness for wine with an experiential appreciation for the differences among vintages, but nothing really deep. My sons, however, are much further along in attaining a connoisseur's appreciation. Having returned from the university, they are applying the knowledge gleaned from their biology studies to pursuing an education in the production, marketing, and appreciation of wine. Dillon has a job that is facilitating this education, and Thomas is helping him.

There are a lot of aspects to appreciating a wine. Subtle variations in aroma, texture, weight, mixture with other fruits, aging and storage, create a complexity of taste that is a challenge and joy to discover. It's like studying the themes and techniques of literature to the point that you can appreciate the works of Shakespeare, Laotze, Homer, and Cervantes. You hear the voices of these authors in a richness that you don't get from a surface reading, and they touch your soul at a deeper level. Similarly, an educational effort can take you from just tasting a wine, to experiencing it.

Considering the similarities between these two of our favorite things, I think it appropriate to give a greater voice to the wine side and pair it with the literary. From time-to-time, I'll do a journal entry inspired from a book (especially if I've written a review) and let Dillon add an accompanying entry on a wine that has a connection (Dillon's Picks). They synergy should be interesting and perhaps, enlightening.

Appreciating a really good wine is appreciating a moment. When enjoyed among friends or at an occasion, it can enhance the experience, enriching the memory of it. It should never be taken to excess; that's like reading to exhaustion. You want to read and reflect, sip and savor.

So as we continue our journey, seeking the inspiration and knowledge we need for navigation, let's indulge a bit in spirits for our spirit. It'll be fun.