Today, I had the opportunity to drive on some local back roads that I don’t normally drive on. The scenery is beautiful, especially this time of year. It’s farm country so there’s lovely old farm houses, fields as far as you can see and that quintessential small town charm that has always appealed to me.
It’s also wine country. Need I say more?
As I drove, I couldn’t help but notice that every other sign was pointing in the direction of another winery. I found myself feeling melancholy – grieving all the wineries I would never have a chance to visit. Some I recognized, some I didn’t. At times, I would see one I recognized and think, “Oh, I always wanted to go there – but now I can’t.” After a while, I felt like the directional signs were taunting me, as if saying “Come over here. Look how beautiful I am. Look how nice my tasting room is.” And, I wanted to yell back, “No! Stop it! Don’t you know what I am? Don’t you know how hard I’ve worked to get here?!”
Finally, the kids and I arrived at our destination and I was safe. Oh, did I forget to mention the kids were with me? That’s because my crazy alcoholic mind was consumed with the damn winery signs! Sometimes I could slap myself. Seriously.
Once we were back in the car for our drive home, I found myself focused on the winery signs yet again – despite going a different route. But, then, instead of thinking about how much I was missing by not being able to partake in the winery experience, I remembered all the times before when I had. I remembered never understanding the point of spitting your wine out while tasting. Really?! Who DOES that? I remembered wanting to care about how the wine tasted, but not caring because all I wanted to do was drink – more! I remembered worrying about who was going to drive me around from winery to winery because I sure wasn’t going to drive – are you kidding me?! I remembered the horrible headaches the next morning, feeling like a truck had run over me.
And, right around that time I heard these lyrics from a Jackson Browne song come across my Pandora station:
To open my eyes
And wake up alive in the world
To open my eyes
And finally arrive in the world
I looked in my rear view mirror at my son and daughter and knew God was there, listening to my thoughts and feelings and giving me a little reminder. Sometimes, that’s all I need. A little reminder, today in the way of song, to help me remember what it’s all about. I wake up. I open my eyes. I’m alive in this beautiful, painful world. And, that’s all I can ask for because some aren’t so fortunate.
R.I.P. Cory Monteith