February 03, 2007
Hot water and sunshine
Throughout the month of February, my feet are cold. Not just my feet, but my neck, my hands, and my forehead. Cold seeps from the icicles that hang from roofs, from the snow drifted against fences and bushes, from the salty slush that splatters along the roadways; winter chill creeps into my bones. Usually, I combat this chill with aerobic exercise. Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing can force blood to pump warmth all the way to my toes. But today, with a knee injury keeping me still, I decided to try the one remedy that doesn't involve legwork: a hot bath.
On a Saturday morning, with the teenagers asleep and my husband off at an annual meeting, I had the sunny bathroom all to myself. Just locking the door gave me that feeling of peace: I was alone. Steam rose from the water as the tub filled, water as hot as I could get.
How luxurious to soak in hot water, the sun catching the shower curtain that I'd pushed to the side, sun brushing my arms with warmth when I reached over the side of the tub to pick up my book. When the water cooled just a little, I turned on the faucet to add more hot water, the heat splashing onto my feet until my toes turned red. Even when I was a little kid, I always loved a hot bath, loved to run my soapy hands along my slippery skin, admire my legs as I twisted and turned them in the clear water. I don't use bubble bath because I am allergic to it, so the water stays as clear as rain gathered in the smooth indentation of island rock.
The scent of lavender filled the room as I sudsed my hair, piling foamy wet strands on top of my head. I've got lots of hair, long and thick and wavy, so it feels different to have it all mashed together. The sun from the window touched the back of my neck, sending warm tingles down my spine. I played with my soapy hair, pulling it into all kinds of silly sculptured hairstyles: hair filled with shampoo is more fun than modeling clay. Wet tendrils dropped to tickle my throat.
The house was quiet. No sound came from behind the white painted door, no noise from the blue and white world outside the window. In the steamy heat, I could close my eyes against the flood of sun and imagine that I was lying on the grey rock of a river island, basking in the heat of summer.
Posted by jo(e)