The Wine: A to Z Pinot Grigrio (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
The Winery: Upper Crust (Broken Arrow, Oklahoma)
The W(H)ine: Solstice Hard Stop (The Longest Day: “Bless Our Heart”)
“There is a reason the road is long; it takes some time to make your courage strong…”
– Hard Love lyrics by NeedToBreathe
6.21.22. 772 miles: Las Cruces, New Mexico to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Four hours rain followed by four hours Texas followed by four hours Bible Belt.
The. Longest. Day.
Pearl & I ended our summer Solstice trek in solid central Oklahoma territory, just after throwing $0.95 & $1.15 respectively in exact change (okay, not really…because pennies don’t count, nor could I count after 12 straight hours driving so pretty sure Oklahoma won the toll war) into the eight-decade-old toll booth basket while simultaneously cursing their existence and a profound lack of preparation.
How could the last ten minutes of a twelve-hour road-trip leg land so offensively?
In fewer than three minutes after throwing five illegitimate pennies into the ancient highway begging basket, we arrived SAFELY & SOUNDLY at my sister-from-another-mister’s newly-constructed-Oklahoma-dwelling.
All is well. (Cue: anti-anxiety meditation, deep breathing, & down-dog yoga move)
My sister-friend left sunny SoCal for hot, humid, holy Oklahoma a year ago, bidding farewell to decades of historically traumatic existence, albeit secure government employment paired with perpetually overpriced gasoline. She found love. And moved east.
That’s a thing.
My cashier at our last pit stop also moved from San Bernardino, California one year ago, rehoming to Oklahoma, citing high taxation, progressive politics, and inflated housing costs as cause.
What a small world!
Then came her cringeworthy offering as we wished each other farewell, “Bless Your Heart!”
I once was a Jesus Freak. A Bible Thumper. A “Bless Your Heart” Beatitude-Beguiler.
Read: A Self-Righteous Snob full of oh-so-many answers, profound-lack-of curious questions, and a profound-ego-need to solve all your problems. (Some still think I am.)
Now, on this, the longest day of the annum, I find myself traipsing through Bible Belt territory and feeling oh-so-out-of-place-offended-why-are-you-being-so-religious-and-righteous-when-I-just-want-to-pay-my-checkout-bill as I debited payment?
I WAS the “Bless Your Heart” checkout girl, once upon a time.
How did we get here? When did things change? Why do I now cringe when the other party is simply offering gracious reply from the fullness of a firmly held (valid) belief system?
WHO IS THE OFFENDING PARTY, REALLY????
Maybe it’s me, all judgy, jurisdictionally juxtapositional juju, all socially just and justified…
This Day is Long.
For Good Reason.
For what hath any other ever offered that can offend if I truly, mindfully, intentionally absorb, allow, and accept fully?
Hello? Have you read my blogs????
If there is one thing learned in fifty years of mostly trying to grow and learn, but realizing I know nothing really, is that just when one awakens to an epiphany, one is immediately introduced to the counterpunch. The antagonist. The opportunity.
Reclamation Roadtrip apparently now includes a return to former formalities, previous proclivities, and early-life encounters, and all on this, the The Longest Day…
The Solstice term stems from the Latin words for “Sun” (sol) and “To Stand Still” (sister) and speaks to the day when ancient astronomers deem the sun reaches its highest (or lowest) point in the sky that year and appears to simply STAND STILL.
(This Long Day.)
And so, we stand: Still, Solemn, and (mostly), Sober.
Something about the cashier’s offering felt fake, but its offeror appeared authentic; something about the situation felt other-worldly, but its exchange extremely real; something about the solstice’ stillness felt sarcastic, but its imprint solely sacred.
Why, when we used to be “the other” and now we are other, do we look back on an “other” as the other? Might we summon some courage this summer season to realize all paths are worthy?
All peoples sacred? And all journeys just?
On the Longest Day and maybe Every Other Day, Let’s Let All Be Without Judgement, With Courage…Bless Our Hearts!! And Theirs.