Friday, January 13, 2012

IN HOT WATER – As If For the First Time

(This is another in my series of reflections, As If For the First Time, describing the most commonplace of experiences through a fresh lens, one of innocence and wonder.)
A shower feels good any time of year. But in the winter—especially when it's a snow-sprinkling ten degrees outside as it is right now—sometimes a good hot shower's the only way you can reach that chill that's penetrated to your core.

This morning I'm taking one of those showers.

By the time I'm "cooked"...the water's much hotter than it was at first, when I couldn't stand it.

I let the water run until the glass steams up. How relative the heat is. When I first step in, I have to quickly turn the handle down to avoid burning myself. But in no time it feels tepid; I turn it up. By the time I'm "cooked," I've done so several times, to the point where the water's now much hotter than it was at first when I couldn't stand it. Now my skin's turning red—brightest on top of my shoulders, with definite streaks where the nearly scalding rivulets run down my chest.

I play with the tickling jets of water, testing the effect of each on a pruning fingertip. Of the hundred or so strands the shower head dispenses, no two are alike. Some are focused and fierce, biting into my skin; others I can barely feel. Some subdivide their meager share into still finer spray; a few barely drip, choked off by years of lime deposits.

I turn around to face the beneficent bombardment. As it drives heat into my chest, I feel my back cooling. I experiment, and finally perfect a sort of "rotisserie" movement, gradually turning my body while rocking slowly back and forth. That's more like it.

The meditation's put me in touch with something very basic, very pure. A celebration. I am deeply warmed in body and soul. 

After a while, I realize I've indeed lost track of time—in fact, of every thought. The meditation's put me in touch with something very basic, very pure. A celebration. I am deeply warmed in body and soul.

I turn off the water and reach for my towel. The shower head gurgles as it drains. Each drop clips the gray rubber edge of the shower squeegee hanging from the shower caddy and deflects out at my chest. They're cool, but it feels good.


Davina Haisell said...

I've enjoyed such showers! They are soothing, especially as you say, on wintry days. I liked your metaphor of the rotisserie :)

This is a good reminder to focus on our senses; to allow the fullness of who we are. I wonder how many showers I've taken just because I had to and not really appreciated them.

Have you taken a cold shower before? They're something else too! It's invigorating when you're finished and your skin begins to warm up.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Hi Davina - It's so nice to see you here! Thanks for your comment.
Yes, I've had many cold showers but I must admit they've only been in places where there was no other option. I've also enjoyed some jumps into holes in frozen lakes after saunas -- talk about bracing!
Hope you're warm and comfy today - -16 at our house this morning -- br-r-r!

Jeffrey Willius said...

Oh, Davina, forgot to mention that I enjoyed your post, Rena's Carnelian! I like your writing.

Grace said...

Ah, the "rotisserie" movement--very important for an enjoyable shower. My favorite showers take place in summer when we hook up the outdoor shower. My indoor shower (which we recently set up) is not so enjoyable. It's one of those attachments for old-fashioned claw foot tubs where you have to have curtains all around--not much room in there and the set up is awkward.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Grace, I hope that outdoor shower is one of the solar-heated ones! Cold showers are great...but only after you get out! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey!! I for one LOVE my hot baths and showers:)!! I give thanks each time I am able to have such a precious gift:)!! I honestly don't think I could live without them, especially with our Canadian winters! Running water is amazing and having hot water so readily available is priceless!
Thank you for such a great reminder:)!!

Jeffrey Willius said...

Hey Daisy -- Yeah, just think how many people there are around the world who don't have the luxury of running water, not to mention HOT running water! I too must remember to be grateful!

Maia Dobson said...

We're quite similar when it comes to showering. I also let the heat go up the wall before I finally take a bath. It brings a soothing feeling. My husband just recently fixed our water and plumbing system with an excellent pipe bursting equipment and now it works perfectly. I can shower all I want.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Hi Maia - It's so great to hear from you here! I'm glad to know there's a kindred "lobster" out there -- though now that it's nearly summer, I can't imagine the same routine I wrote about in this post written in the depths of a Minnesota winter!
Some hot, steamy days in July, I do the opposite, cranking the shower all the way to cold. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

I go into deep meditation in the shower too Jeffrey. My third eye goes nuts and I begin to get downloads of energy or visions related to questions I may have been asking. It seems to lower the shielding of the ego. It's as if it connects one to one's higher self beyond time and space.

Jeffrey Willius said...

I can understand that, Bern -- especially for you, a long-distance hiker, who must appreciate a good hot shower more than most of us! I'm glad I'm not the only one who experiences a shower -- and so many other things -- as a meditation.

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