Exposition on Elliptical
(or "Ruminations on the Mysteries of the Ellipse & the Lure of the Cosmic Dance" as divined by Wineherd John Munch)
Elliptical is the natural state of a creative mind. It is also the name of our wine club, the Elliptical Society. However, the Le Cuvier wine club is not a mere marketing afterthought; rather, it is the raison d’être, the Omphalic Principle as it were, of our little winery because, first & foremost, our wines are made exclusively for our Elliptical Members.
Though Elliptical describes the vast motion of the planets themselves, Elliptical is also micro . . . very micro in our case. There is a curse built into the very fabric of our micro winery which guarantees self destruction if our yearly case production were ever to exceed 3,426 cases. In the interest of ensuring a margin of safety, we plan to make no more than 3,215 cases of wine from any given vintage.
Though our winery is tiny by every standard, our wines express cosmic attitude, a fine degree of hubris & exuberant dimension. Our grapes are all from gnarly limestone vineyards in the hills west of Paso Robles. Vine yields are unreasonably low, & of consequence the resultant wines reflect the essence of individuality & intense character that only comes from grapes which grow up rough & live hard. There is NO WINEMAKER at Le Cuvier. Instead, a rather lazy person & self-described “Wine Herd” (John Munch's auxiliary title at Le Cuvier) lives in the cellar with his barrels & his feral beasties, & ensures that appropriate music is played to the benefit of the aging wines.
If you have read this far, it is a sure sign that you probably qualify for highly esteemed membership in the Elliptical Society. There is no end to the joys & benefits, the privileges & perquisites of membership. But perhaps you are one of those strange people who cannot resist reading the back of cereal boxes, or anything else for that matter, & before contemplating Membership, you require a higher level of finely wrought gibber & a closer understanding of the importance & origins of the Elliptical Society, origins which can be traced back to the early days of the Seventeenth Century when the Elliptical Society’s progenitorial juices first flowed freely on a damp & balmy summer evening:
The date was June 1, 1603, & Johann Kepler was out walking in a tight, perfectly round circle in his stocking feet on wet grass beneath the spinning stars, all the while pondering the astronomical observations of the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. The planets always failed to act properly, no doubt about it, & this caused Master Kepler no end of feverish fret. His head hurt, a terrible pain, but slowly the sound of crickets began to soothe his throbbing pate, lulling him away from a state of mathematical crisis, & directing his attention to where he spied the spark & pulsing glow of campfire off across the dew-damp fields. Enticing sounds too, violins, like squealing pigs in rut, drew him towards the glow.
Thus drawn, young Kepler came into the fire light of a Romany camp of brightly painted wagons & exotic, wild music, where he witnessed a shimmering dancer moving withershins, round & round a bonfire’s excited flames, flames which lashed out, right & left, coerced by buffeting winds & other forces, some natural, some not. With soaring spins & leaps, the dancer swirled around the fire with a path ovaloid rather than circular, as she tantalizingly twirled just outside of the grasp of the snapping flames & other eagerly snatching fingers, her long hair a sparkling comet trailing wildly behind her. An epiphany of limpid clarity struck young Kepler, like a silver spike between the eyes, as he stood transfixed by the beauty & shape of the dancer, & he realized with certitude that the planets too danced a natural dance, an ellipse, not a circle. It all made perfect & simple sense!
Returning home with the cock’s crow (roosters were of greater import in that age) Johann Kepler entered the parlor of his family home in giddy triumph, only to be scolded for the mud on elbows & knees. Some things never change.
The essence of Kepler’s revelation, the very gist of all his future mathematical computations & writing, can be distilled into a simple axiom: “a twirling & Elliptical Dancing around the flames of life is to be encouraged & commended, & reflects the innate order of the cosmos where it is repeatedly demonstrated that the natural flow of all bodies is Elliptical; only unnatural things (such as automobile tires & Cuisinart food processors) move in a circular motion.”
Yeast cells, primary movers in the mysterious evolution of grape juice into wine, are also seen to be Elliptical in Shape when viewed through a microscope. Indeed, the males of all species of ambulatory mammals could not walk in comfort without advantage of the Elliptical Shape, though it appears that evolution may have been arrested following that singular grace.
And thus Elliptical Secrets are marginally revealed to the inquisitive few, those adventurous individuals willing to drink deeply of life’s wonders while delving with passion into the Mystery of the Ellipse, for in the immortal words of William Blake “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom;” which pithy statement by the way perfectly captures the entirety & essence of the combined force of all celestial computations in Johann Kepler’s famously important tome, Principia Fundamentalis. Join us in our own never ending quest in search of curious wisdom, exquisite wine, platters of extraordinary comestibles, & entertainingly genial friends, all in synesthetic twirl, a gleeful cosmic dance to our greater pleasure.