Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cedar Woods Shower.

The trip has opened our eyes so wide to how little we, humans, actually need to keep the sense of freedom and happiness. Living with minimum stuff, avoiding cluttering our living spaces and our minds with things we need, or in most cases we think we might need is a choice and a true blessing. This extends to levels of comfort as well.

When most of the people nowadays would not even consider doing laundry by hand, or wearing the same clothes the next day, or making preserves while traveling, or living without a shower, or using a hole in the ground as a natural bathroom (this could easily be a reason for cold chills of a city dweller!), during our trip we have rediscovered the joys of the old fashioned ways.
We no longer need instructions on how to use the outhouses, composting toilets, outdoor showers or sponge baths.

On the third day of our stay on Waldron we were in need of taking a baaaaath. This term "bath" is rather relevant. When Bob announced that the water had been heated up I had the system all figured out and the troops lined up. First, it was Evan that got all cleaned up. He had it easy since he would fit into a blue cooler we brought the food in without any problem. I lathered him in a home made soap Betsy had given us. I was looking forward to not have his hair smell like a chicken coop anymore.

Then it was Milana's turn. I washed her hair first and then added some more warm water into the cooler so that she could sit down and warm up a bit. Even though we had picked a sunny spot the breeze was in the air. You could here her giggling for miles.

Leona was third. She would not fit into the cooler but would lean over it so that I do her hair first and then a sponge bath while she's standing in the cooler. She was shivering and I made sure I did it quickly. There were no giggles coming out of her mouth, but no wining either.

Then it was Ivana's turn. Her hair had gotten so long that I needed extra water to rinse off the soap off her head.

"Oh, Mom. This sponge bath is so much better than the "South Dakota shower"!!!", she said laughing, and we all remembered the really cold water from the well we washed ourselves with while staying on Lakota reservation. I brushed their hair and enjoyed clean kids for a few hours that day.

"I am impressed with how efficiently the washing went!", Bob was complimenting my kids' cleaning technique.
"Oh, practice makes it perfect, I guess!", I accepted the praise.

I took the pot with remaining water to a more private location, to a spot behind a bamboo screen, which happened to be the most airy and picturesque outhouse I have ever been to, so far.

It was an amazing feeling undressing in the woods. I felt small and vulnerable. Chilly breeze added to my feeling of discomfort. And then, without any hesitation, I poured a cup of warm water over myself. Standing in the leaves and not being worried where the water splashed, I quickly soaped myself. The birds were curious to see what I was doing, and the leaves were singing me a song.

I was washing off more than just dirt and sweat, taking this cedar woods spirited shower. In a while, the sense of vulnerability went away and joy and freedom took over. If I had more warm water, I would have soaped myself yet one more time just to experience the climax of freedom once again.
I was getting dressed being a different person. I came out running and smiling out of the shady woods to meet the sun and life again!


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