Wednesday, November 02, 2016

literal bucket list

There are things that everyone should do in their lives.

Clean their own toilets is one.

Some would say travel, and that is not a bad idea IF, on the occasions you travel, you get outside of your own little bubble and actually experience the place.  Go to the post office, for instance.  Eat, alone, at a local dive without speaking the language.  Tourist traps and guided tours do not count as traveling.  Gawking at a convenience store taking photos of the locals to make fun of them doesn't either (that sort of behavior means all your "traveling" hasn't done a damn thing for ya).  Me wandering around downtown Manhattan at 16 probably does.  Try ordering a damn ham sandwich at some Jewish deli with a hillbilly accent.  I think I did get the orange juice.  Yankees don't know what "light bread" is.  They are, however, willing to introduce the underaged to Lambrusco at Mama Leone's.  Well, they were before they closed down.  In Mexico City, you eat where you order whatever it is you order because at least you recognize the word, "pollo", and you watch the locals stand around the tables of condiments and join in except avoid the hot sauce.  In Hawaii, you are the only girl who joins the group renting mopeds with which to "go" where ever the road leads.  But none of that will ever trump knowing how to be home.

I always say, grow food.  There is a lot more to it, but deep down I suppose I really think that if you grow a tomato this year, next year you will add basil and before you know it you've got potatoes and cabbage and a fruit tree.  But it is far more than that.  If you are old and infirm, a tomato might be enough.  But if you give a shit about the earth or your health, you have to grow food.  And you have to cook that food and eat that food and pass those skills on.

One of the things that, perhaps a body doesn't have to do but it is really a good, joyful, grounding, celebratory, mindful experience is a yearly creek bath.  We probably took a few when we first bought this place (nearing 30 years ago now) because we didn't have a water system yet.  We had the most of them during the years of drought (2004-2008) we had when we were on severe water restrictions and even hauled water routinely to our cistern just to keep the dishes washed.  But, oh, doing it . . . !   A once a year reminder of running water, of heated water, is a good reminder.

And doing it this late in the fall!  I do remember that the very last time we hauled water to the cistern was in December, but we were likely hauling enough by that time that we weren't much engaged in creek baths, just spit baths and shared baths and short baths.  But it is SO beautiful.  Creek is full of leaves.  Only in a few places were there small clear patches.  I decided to try the closest one instead of the bigger one or the deeper one.  Sun, golden leaves, warm.  I stepped over a log, placed my towel on it, took off my housecoat, stepped out of my shoes and onto the rocks.  They wobbled beneath my  weight, threatening my ankles.  The water was sharply cold.  Deep breath.  Walk on and decide where to stand.  Take the baby shampoo out of the empty ice cream bucket and fill the bucket with water.  I tilt my head way back and pour.  Just touching my hair and scalp, and feet, it isn't too bad.  Until I quit leaning back and the water from my head and hair touches my back.   Woohoo.  Alrighty.  Let's add some baby shampoo and do it again.  Woohoooer.  And again and again.  Eventually declaring my hair to be clean and doing a once over of my body and then laughing like a maniac looking around at the sun shining into the understory of the woods and carefully stepping on rocks back up to the log and the towel and the terry housecoat.

I brought socks, actually, in the pocket of that housecoat, and dried my feet and put them on then into my shoes.  I check on the horse's water barrel and the mushrooms (all amanitas I do believe) and make my way back up, past the bull making funny breathing noises, past the bones of horses past, past the chicken coop with a view, to our little mushroom rising up out of the forest house, today still filled with Halloween candy.

Now it is time for sleep.  I should comb my hair out and braid it so it tangles less.  Yet I like this wild, free, still slightly cool feeling down my back, I look forward to the splay of hair across the pillows, to it getting caught under the husband's arm and pulling in our sleep.  I will deal with the tangles tomorrow.

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