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I climb into the first of several silver birds that carry me across the world and after various marathons of sleeplessness and serendipitous adventures, emerge almost 48 hours later at my home. I embrace my family, smell the air and am greeted by birdsong and seabreeze across verdant paddocks. And thence commences a weeklong cycle of small sleeps and nighttime waking as I readjust to West Australia time and wait for the rest of me to arrive from the US.

I rouse up in the predawn light and beeline it to the vines. I had been planting cabernet sauvignon on the day of departure and the job was completed while I was airborne.  Now, a full month later I am finally able to look it over and am encouraged to see virtually every plant is thriving. An extraordinary percentage of the cuttings are fully leafed out. Fantastic. This is an exceptional site for Cabernet Sauvignon and a very auspicious beginning.

And so thinking, I cross the drying creek, immersing one boot, bringing me right back to earth, and with this partial baptism squish up to the vines. I have the distinct feeling of being in different worlds at once as I inspect the careful hand-weeding that had occurred the previous week, noting a vast pile of weeds that need composting.

The vines are in terrific nick. The Chardonnay is over my head, reaching for the sky in full flower. I shove my nose into blossom after blossom and am drunk on the fragrance. It’s a super healthy abundant crop this year, testimony to terrific pruning and those amazing rains.

A lone white tail black cockatoo tips his wings as he stutters overhead. I start to anthropomorphize a whole sad story about habitat loss and the loss of a mate, then shift, thinking that he is greeting me, welcoming me back.  Which story do I wish to inhabit? I have a choice in how I view the world, don’t I? It’s possible that this is the same bird that was swooping me while I planted in the weeks leading up to my departure. Maybe he’s made one of these trees his home. Time to pay closer attention and leave morbid conclusions behind. One of my several summer resolutions…

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