July 11, 2007
Come to the river to wash
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.
Posted by jo(e)