Lifted Spirits

Karen Shimizu
"My mother and I sat at a long table under a persimmon tree in Sighnaghi, a village in the Republic of Georgia." Read Karen Shimizu's essay, "Lifted Spirits"Flickr member Etwood, CC licensed

My mother and I sat at a long table under a persimmon tree in Sighnaghi, a village in the Republic of Georgia. I reached for my wine, but our friend Sergo shook his head: not yet. This was my first supra, the centuries-old traditional Georgian meal, and I didn't realize that you could drink only after a toast had been made. Sergo went on to make many—to God (sip), to ancestors (sip), to absent friends (sip, sip). We ate heartily and toasted often; tongues were made earnest by wine, hearts were softened by song. Never before had I been so swept up in the sharing of words and food.