In the great wide world of wine, there are people (called “snobs” by some) who believe that certain grapes grow best in certain parts of the world, that the wines which come from those places taste noticeably different from the same grapes grown in other places, and that if you’re drinking a wine built on a formula–sent through a lot of machines in an attempt at total control and perfection–you can taste that, too, and it’s soulless and bland and not really worth your time. So while Riesling from Washington State or Australia might be tasty enough, the greatest expression of the grape occurs in parts of Germany and Austria where it is most at home and most alive.

Humans are that way, too, I think. We do so many things and interact with so many people in the course of our lifetime and while all serve a purpose, only a few inhabit ground fertile enough to coax out our fullest potential.

Home is hard to define but easy to feel. Colleen is home for me. The perfect complement to my wandering soul. I get along fine with most everyone. I can grow in a lot of different types of soil. But in her arms, I reach my greatest expression.

She is exuberant, but purposeful. She carefully marks each step in front of her, appreciates the moment, sees no need to rush to her destination, knows somehow that she will get there when she is supposed to get there. The Tao of Pooh. I, on the other hand, am apt to leap off cliffs and hope. Or else, sit on a beach and dream… lustfully…without ever once buying a boat or a paddle or learning to swim. Or else, sulk and swear it all off…refusing to take a single solitary step without visual proof of the entire path… and assurances of easy access to the desired destination.

She is honest, but kind. A lot of people who pride themselves on honesty can be cruel or aloof. And many people who are kind give voice to half-truths and pretty lies. Sensitive souls like me tend toward the latter, and fear the former. Colleen speaks truth with compassion.

She is playful, but not childish. I enjoy the absurdity of imagination. The rush of making it up and goofing around. But I also insist on thoughtful, probing conversation. She plays with me. But then, later, we talk like adults.

Good wines have a similar feel. They’re this, but also that. The perfect balance between seemingly disparate or conflicting things. The other thing they are? Drinkable. That’s Colleen, too. It’s one thing for a person to bring out your best. It’s even better when you actually enjoy being around that person. When you can have fun together and relax together, and don’t go to that ugly place where you pick apart one another’s faults just to score points.

Point systems don’t work for relationships and they don’t work for wine. There’s no such thing as perfect. There’s only home. And it evolves over time. You start by laying down roots, you prune along the way, and you trust the vines.

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