July 11, 2007

Come to the river to wash

Hair washing

When we get a sunny day at camp, we spend much of the day in the water. The river is filled with islands, mostly big chunks of rock, with perhaps an old pine tree or two for shade, and many of the islands are uninhabited. So we'll pick an island and all meet there for a swim. Some of us will go by sailboat, some by canoe, and some by motorboat, bringing with us towels and sunscreen and sometimes food.

Even when the weather isn't sunny and warm, but cool and threatening to storm, like it was most of last week, we still make time every day for a swim. Most of my family have gorgeous long hair, but it's hair that gets oily and needs to be washed pretty often. Blonde Sister, after years of experience, has perfected a method of washing her hair with just a bucket of water, a feat that includes her sticking her whole head into the bucket, but for those of us who have never trained to be in a circus, washing our hair means taking a swim in the river, no matter how cold.

And the river, because it's so deep and wide, is still icy cold this time of year, which is appealing on hot days and less so on cold, rainy days. Of course, neither of my parents will ever admit that the water temperature is cold. My mother will dive into the water and come up with a startled expression as her body registers the shock, but even with icicles forming in her long hair, she'll turn over to do the backstroke and yell out some incredible understatement like, "Oh, it's refreshing." The word "refreshing" in this context means "get out quick before you lose all feeling in your limbs."

Blond Brother-in-law will leap into the water without hesitation no matter what the temperature, and Drama Niece and Blonde Niece will spend hours in the water even when the ice has just melted, but some of us need encouragement to plunge ourselves into the cold current. My method is to lean over from the rock and swish my long hair in the water. Then I stand up and work shampoo into my hair, with cold water trickling down my neck, suds falling onto my back and shoulders. Pretty soon my whole body will be dripping with suds and then, well, then I have no choice but to jump into the cold river and rinse off.

That's Smart Beautiful Wonderful Daughter in the photo.

13 comments:

kathy said...

Your daughter is gorgeous!

MJ said...

That would be my preferred method to wash my hair too. I love swimming in lakes and rivers but not when it's chilly. My husband--after 9 summers spent at a boys' summer camp--will jump in regardless of the weather and water temperature.

Nadine said...

After living in Florida, all water up here feels like ice to me.

Kyla said...

You can see she got a bit of sun! I can tell where the knot of her bikini top usually sits. *lol*

You guys are delightful.

jo(e) said...

Yeah, her uneven bannaroo tan turned into a sunburn. Sunscreen washes off easily in the water ....

BeachMama said...

Funny, I love washing my hair in a lake. It has been so long since I have stayed at a cottage and been able to do that though, I almost forgot how nice it is to do. Especially when it is chilly and you can put on your warm clothes after and feel the warmth spread through to all your limbs.

*We actually passed through on the other bridge between two countries, the one that doesn't lead directly to the interstate, but travels through some quaint small towns and a reservation first. On the way back we drove right by you :).

jo(e) said...

Beachmama: I wish I had known your travel route ahead of time. I could have emailed you directions, and you could have stopped to say hello and met my whole family ....

Yankee T said...

Great photo of SBWD.

Loki said...

What kind of shampoo do you use that won't add chemicals to the water? I can't tell from the picture...

I've often wanted to wash my hair in the lake we camp by every summer, but was alwasy afraid to contribute to pollution.

east village idiot said...

I've never washed my hair in a lake - it sounds so exhilarating. I like your approach to hair washing best.

flutter said...

your photos never fail to leave me breathless

BeachMama said...

jo(e)! That would have been oh so cool to meet all of you. There is always next year as we do this trip every year. And we usually do cross the other bridge, but there was a blockade going on during our first day so we wanted to avoid it at all costs.

Picky Mick said...

On a Colorado camping trip I had to wash my hair in a river fed by glacial melt. It was so cold it flash-froze my brain, and I still remember every thought from that day.