Weekends are feeding time.
Traveling, and a few honey-lavender chocolates, does a fantastic job feeding the soul. For both nourishment and exploration, I spent yesterday romping around the small desert town of Agua Dulce.
The road to Agua Dulce is an experience itself. As I made my way out of Los Angeles, I watched the cars disappear and the mountains grow. Thin daisies pushed their way out of the cracks of the dusty grounds and blossomed up into the sky. The rocks provided shade for a few lone houses, and signs reading “Alfalfa Greener Than Heaven’s Grass” stood plastered by the wooden houses.
I stopped at Reyes Vineyard, a place where fellow wine enthusiasts have clapped and cheered over the winemaker’s tender use of the grapes. My tasting began with a Chardonnay, and to say I was skeptical is a drastic understatement. (Not a fan of oaky, buttery wines.) Despite that, I tried the wine, and it was bright and relaxed, with flavors reminiscent of a non-sweet tropical drink. Another standout was the Cabernet from 2010. Reyes has a chocolatier ON SITE (!!!) to help provide chocolate pairings with corresponding wines. The Cab 10 came with a dark chocolate caramel, and the combination was both milky and dark, and sweet and bitter. It was playful. I could easily see myself draped of a chaise lounge, sipping this wine and savoring the chocolates.
The dessert wines…oh the dessert wines!!! I used to disdain such sweet wines, turning my head away from their supposed syrupy flavor. My relationship with these guys took a turn when I went to Portugal, and realized that a good Port paired chocolate-covered cherries had the potential to be a religious experience. The White Delight, one of Reyes’s dessert white blends, tasted like pears and Crème Brule. It was floral but not soapy, and possessed an earthy sweetness akin to dirtying up one’s best Sunday dress with fresh soil.
The red dessert wine tasted like Halloween. A Milky Way Midnight, in particular. It was paired with toffee, and had a buttery darkness that would seduce any mortal into the arms of a dreamboat vampire.
The wines and staff of Reyes were so charming that I felt it best to do a little exploring of the rest of the town before I made my way back to Los Angeles. I was in luck. The town was celebrating the entrance into fall, and the main road was blocked off for the Harvest Parade. Lawn chairs lined the street. Parents drank beer in golf carts, and children clutched their paper bags in preparation for the eventual downpour of miniature candy.
I sat and spoke with a few of the town residents, including a man named J.T. as he wrangled his spunky 3-year-old. He told me about his life in Agua Dulce, and how he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
“The towns tries to stay small,” He said, swapping the child for a red solo cup of something cold and yeasty. “No curbs, no streetlights. No property can have less than two acres.”
The vibe proves it. As people walk to claim their spots along the road, J.T. waves, greeting most of them by name. It seems that everyone is taking a break from their hectic work -week to enjoy the simple joy of a cooler and parade.
The afternoon moved slowly, and I continued to venture down the road in a pursuit of discovery. While navigating the dusty and winding roads, I made friends with a 20-year-old welding student named Uly. Uly came from Mexico when he was ten years old, and currently drives around with his little brothers in their stepfather’s pickup truck. The boys drink coke from Burger King cups, and prepare to sit on the curb in order to view the parade’s splendor.
Uly knows about literal feeding. In addition to his time studying the art of welding, he works at a feed store and nurtures his pet baby cow. He lives a life as student, caregiver, and shop-worker, all while maintaining a sense of play. As we wait for the parade, he points to spheres of fading tire tracks that sit in the middle of the road.
“See the donut-marks?” He asks with a grin. “Those were me.” Still grinning.
There are multiple facets to every personality. Our daily actions make up a big part of who we are, and then we feed our personalities back into our work.
We make tires tracks. We drink beer from the family’s cooler. We drive in order to discover.
When it comes to our days off, when it’s beneficial to take a breath, we can explore our personalities in the realm of relaxation and playtime. As cliché as it may sound, it’s a chance to feed the soul and our inner child.
So, friends! Eat and eat well. Eat the roads, drink the wine, and let your explorations guide you. It’s just as important to feed the soul as it is to feed the body.