Armed with a make-belief sense of menopausal power and a large pair of loppers I have been pruning kiwifruit vines over the last couple of months and, with each cane that I flung to the ground, came the intense satisfaction that comes from seeing order emerge out of chaos. Neatness from a tangle. Sweetness from a wrangle. Each particularly difficult hunk of wood that I lopped and then had the pleasure of kicking into the middle of the row for mulching came to symbolize my last boss whose sarcastic words and withering glances caused me to quit a job I really liked.
I departed that cafe job there and then before my ego could be minced any more like flour, eggs and spinach in a pasta machine and then boiled of course. So, with head held high and any would-be-runaway-emotions tightly corseted to my chest I calmly but fearfully walked out.
My grin started out in the car-park and got as wide as a banana while I contemplated my freedom. I have a life to live. Things to do. Sensational moments to stumble upon.
Thank God for our orchardist friend who said, "See you at 8 am, Bern, and not a minute later". He didn't ask. He instructed. He had obviously heard about my self-inflicted predicament and felt either sympathy or intense amusement.
And so I turned up next day at 7.46am looking like a scarecrow in clothes so old that even the Op Shop where they came from once upon a time would never consider taking back.
I threw my peanut butter-sandwiches and banana into the Smoko Room and thus began the new chapter of manual labour mentioned above. And if it has proved to be a little harsh on my scrawny body, it has also been a little bit good for my soul that thirsted like crazy for a breath of fresh air.