Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1
I can’t stay in Sedona, Arizona, for more than a couple of days. On day three I get a headache and frankly, the novelty of burning sage starts to jar my nerves.
My sister, Bridget Lynn, lives in Sedona. It is a bit of an embarrassment for most of our Christian Appalachian family. After the naked wolf-spirit blessings incident at Uncle Cleatus’ funeral, the entire Beecham tribe and my own clan are weary of her visits. She enjoys a near celebrity notoriety in our sleepy mountain hometown. We try to visit her instead.
In the great family lottery of “Who Will Visit Bridget Lynn” I always seem to pick the slip of paper with the black dot or kindly volunteer if one of the ‘spiritually brittle’ is selected. Some years I look to the Shirley Jackson story as one of hope. This year would be one example.
Bridget Lynn is and always has been different. The mold, if there ever was one, was broken and hopefully scattered. My sister is a very successful businesswoman, owning several soap and emollient franchises. She holds patents on numerous processing methods for mud concoctions and salves used in select US and European spas. She is married to Walter, who is rumored to work for some three letter government agency and hails from East coast money. The family rarely sees him but he is quiet, good to Bridget and seems to tolerate her.
I received a Bing alert just this morning regarding Bridget Lynn’s erectile enhancement elixir. Questions have arisen regarding the content, including what might be significant parts per million of reticular Gila venom. The potion is under review by the FDA. Frankly, I’m blind to her genius and entrepreneurial appeal.
I arrived in Sedona near sunset. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful. As the sun prepares for night, an eruption of reds, gold, pinkish orange and purple appears as if the meeting of sky and earth creates a violent, visibly passionate oxidizing reaction on the horizon. In the end the explosion of color leaves the red rocks and vistas muted with the aged patina of twilight. Seeing such beauty in nature makes me hopeful this trip will be a rekindling of the aging sisterhood between us.
Bridget’s handsome Craftsman style home is nestled in the cradle of Doe Mountain. I stepped from the car and inhaled deeply the eventide scent of Sedona. I sensed no living presence in the house, which was odd. Usually Bridget Lynn will greet me when I arrive or can be found embracing cacti with love and affirmation nearby. Baby Jesus bless her heart, she tries.
I spotted a note left on the front door.
“Praise Gaia, you’ve arrived safely! I’m communing with my beetle spirit in the tabernacle of joys – B” the note read. For some car stranded stranger this enigmatic code would hold little meaning, but I knew exactly what she meant. I walked back to the car, opened the trunk and removed my rolling carry-on bag. Slipping on my nighttime readers with the mini-mag-lites duct taped to the sides I began down the somewhat smooth red stone path to the “tabernacle”. Our loving hillbilly family laughingly refers to her encampment as “Bridget’s Bivouac”. Others might call it a yurt or nomadic tent.
I kept my head low so my reader-flashlights could illuminate my path and catch the reflective eye of a viper or shape of a scorpion. I wished I had the ultraviolet light with me Mister gave me for Christmas. Before I could ponder much more, I passed through what seemed like a sonic veil. One moment I was walking in silence and the next I could hear bongos and see Bridget Lynn’s yurt.
After fumbling a few times finding the entrance flap, I finally stepped into the tent. My mouth dropped and the bongos stopped. “Welcome Bleasis!” a familiar voice boomed as five middle aged naked women stood and rushed towards me. The women made forearm defensive motions and covered their eyes as I gazed from one face to another. I thought for a second there the women were doing some kind of rehearsed welcome dance. I was just mistakenly blinding them with the bright beams emanating from my readers. I probably should have studied cultural anthropology with my sharp observation and objective thinking.
I took off my readers and hugged Booger. As sisters born a mere 10 months and 3 weeks apart, we learned each other’s name at a critical time in our childhood development. ‘Bleasis’ is a combination of baby speak ‘Blanche’ and ‘sister’. ‘Booger’ is a combination of ‘booger’ and ‘booger’. Bridget was a well-known booger eater, something I pointed out at every opportunity growing up.
Perhaps in an effort to make me more comfortable, everyone put some clothes on. I personally don’t care for the habit of nudity amongst middle-aged female strangers. I can see that form at home in my own bathroom.
We all sat in the communal conversation pit which consisted of rich fabric pillows and some Moor inspired upholstered mushroom stools that served as tables. We ate humus and some nutty, sundried chip things. I was getting pretty tired when I noticed everyone was wearing white flimsy flip flops. Something was oddly familiar about them, but my brain was really too tired to process. Booger noticed my zoned out gaze.
“I think Bleasis needs some sleep” my sister announced. “Tomorrow she meets her new vagina and we need her well rested.” I struggled to understand that last bit.
“New vagina?” I asked.
“Well, it is a surprise, but tomorrow we will be welcoming your new menopausal vagina!” The ladies all had these goofy, cult like grins on their faces. “Bleasis, this is our gift to you. Tomorrow morning we will rise with the sun and then visit each of the four spiritual vortexes so Gaia may bless your uterine health and renew your vagina with vitality!”
“M’kay.” I turned and headed toward the sleeping area where there was a big futon setup. I fell onto the low bed, fully clothed and dazed. I must of lost track of time when Bridget Lynn slipped into the bed next to me.
“M-so tired” I said.
“Must be the colostrum in the humus. The first time can be like a sleeping aid. You’ll sleep like a baby. Love you, Bleasis.” she said.
My stomach rolled in disgust, understanding the meaning of her words before my brain. I then realized why those flimsy flip flops looked familiar; they were made out of sanitary napkins. I tried to summon an evening prayer as sleep began shutting down my thinking and my breathing became slow.
Bridget is sky to my earth. She gathers energy from my still waters and brings torrents of rain, but in the end she carves deep canyons of understanding and patience in me. Faith might color her clouds, but needs me to grow. Somewhere in there was a divine truth struggling to surface, but deep sleep was looming.
“Love you too, Booger” I mumbled.