Grapes vs. Leaves (Tarot of Michelle)

My grapevines remind me that I have to have priorities, as my time and energy isn’t infinite.

Illustration by the author

The story of Grapes vs. Leaves begins with a stick. A cutting. A small twig I hoped would grow into an actual grapevine and produce fruit as well as shade around my back patio. The variety was called something like “purple passion,” which sounded promising.

I built special trellises for it. I planted it. It grew. The next year, it grew again. So far, so good.

I knew it would take awhile for the grapevine to produce fruit. But by the third year, something wasn’t going right. The grapevine started some grapes….then the grapes dried up. The fourth year, the same thing happened.

So I read up on cultivating grapes. For all their boisterous growth, grapes are finicky little fuckers. They need to be trimmed way, way back each year in a special way; the vines need to be kept trimmed back, so the plant’s energy goes into the fruit; the developing grapes need a certain amount of sun to mature. (It must take a ton of dedication to run a vineyard.) I tried harder….and I still had no success getting grapes.

Clearly, the grapevines have their own priorities and have chosen to put their energy into producing vines and leaves, not fruit. I’ve tried hard to persuade them otherwise, but they will have none of it. In defiance of my secateurs, they grow long like crazy, all over the trellises, down to the ground, and even up over the back patio. They provide shade and ambiance all summer long, which is really nice. 

Grapes vs Leaves reminds me that I have to choose and have priorities too. My time and energy isn’t infinite. I can’t produce both grapes and leaves, in full, all the time, year after year. Maybe as they mature my grapevines will change their priorities, like I have. Until then, I’ll get my grapes at the market or store and appreciate what they do provide me: shade, privacy and ambiance.

A story behind one of the cards in The Tarot of Michelle. Follow the developmental art as a Patron on Patreon.

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