The sun was coming down rather intensely on a late afternoon in Napa, occasionally ducking behind a cloud for a moment, only to reemerge shortly thereafter with renewed tenacity. I was in one of my favorite places in the entire world, but I was burdened by a seemingly unfair number of pressures and considerations. I had been unceremoniously notified by text message that a long time friend had died earlier that day; it was not unexpected news, but neither was it welcome. However, I had been in an intensive daylong course and was thereby unable to do what I might otherwise have done to decompress, such as reaching out to our one or two mutual friends to reminisce. So, too, there was the reason for the course. A proud teacher, I was exhausted, and had been vaguely considering a career change; the purpose of the course was to begin earning my credentials towards work as a sommelier. And in addition to all of this, I hadn’t seen my wife or son in almost a week. Feeling heavy, I leaned against the railing of the Napa Valley Wine Academy and looked all but directly into the sun. Life is a good thing, and I was in a good place. Save for my friend, who had died peacefully in his late 80’s, these were not so much problems as decisions, and temporary situations. Breathe in. Breathe out. After all, life is good… [read more]*
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