My favourite spot? It's the north-eastern corner of my deck.
Many glasses—nay, bottles—of wine have been consumed on this very spot.
Living on the other side of the world, I don't get to enjoy the view much. The house is in Merrijig, a small town about two-and-a-half hours from Melbourne, in Australia's Great Dividing Range. The peak on the right is Mt. Buller, Australia's busiest ski resort. Fans of Australian film may like to know that The Man From Snowy River movies were made nearby. Old sets dot the district.
The view is better than the house. I have yet to build the garage underneath, so it looks kind of odd.
A mob of kangaroos lives on the hill. Every morning, they climb to the top, in order to graze in the sunshine. At dusk, they take shelter in the valley below. That means they hop through my back yard twice a day.
If you count a mob of kangaroos as pals, you don't need a lawn mower. But one must take care with trees.
The boxing kangaroo is no myth. Young males spar with each other in dominance play, like stags locking antlers. For practice, the bouncing boys turn any handy sapling into a punching bag. Most native Australian trees can stand such treatment; the pines and poplars I planted can't. In the top picture, if you look closely, you'll see a young pine tree yoked to a stake with barbed wire. They forced me into S&M gardening.
My favourite spot doesn't really look or feel like Australia, in many ways. It comes as a surprise to find our friends, the kangaroos, frolicking in the snow.
The pictures look lush, but the land dries out quickly come summer. Merrijig narrowly escaped fire at the end of 2006. Throughout December, a blaze burned out of control in the nearby national park, and lapped at our doors. Christmas Eve, miraculously, brought a downpour which saved the community.
A favourite spot, and rather a lucky spot, too.