I like to take a hot shower at night, before bed. I'm not a person big on routines, my hours, my days have a somewhat haphazard quality to them, as every day is a bit different. A different job and a different schedule each day doesn't lend itself to routine. But the hot shower before bed is my delight. It allows me to wash away the dust of the day, and later my curly head will air dry on the pillow while I dream.
A hot shower is my routine. Hotter than hot for this body that's always just a little too chilly, never quite warm enough for any length of time. This scalding shower chases away the chill and clears my mind. Wash away the day, wash this body, wash the long legs made strong from yoga, wash these freckled arms of my Celtic heritage, wash the whiter than white stomach that never sees the sun, wash the soft curves of this gentle woman. Let the steam envelope me, let me breathe it in until all is fresh and clean again, and then the shower ends . I slide open the shower door, and I see, there on the floor, the clothes of my day. The clothes I shed. The yoga top, the yoga pants, the pretty kurti, crumbled on the floor and the colorful scarf draped nearby. I was a yoga teacher today. I shared peace and calm. I watched my breath. I moved my body. I chanted OM. I held my hands together at my heart's center and bowed to the light in you. Did it make a difference? Did it matter at all? What will I remember of this day, washed away, crumpled evidence of laundry on the floor, by the shower door?
Another day. Another hot shower. This time, after I shut off the scalding water, I look down at the floor to see the crumbled clothes I cast off. The skirt, the delicate top, the stockings, a different colorful scarf hangs nearby. Today I was a singer. I walked on stage with all the confidence of a seasoned performer and the humility of a poet who uses lyrics and melody to reveal the most beautiful and hidden parts of this heart. I played guitar. I sang. I told stories of my life, the view from these mis-matched eyes. I bowed to your applause. Did it make a difference? Did it matter at all? What will I remember of this day, washed away, crumpled evidence of laundry on the floor, by the shower door?
Another day. Another hot shower before sleep. After indulging in the healing embrace of steam, I open the shower door. I look down at the floor to see my crumbled clothes, the remains of my undressing. The old jeans with dirty ripped knees, the T-shirt I just can't part with despite the small stains and little holes, the once new hoodie, now tearing at the cuffs and with pockets pulling away from the worn out fabric. I was a gardener today. I dug in the dirt. I inhaled the first scent of approaching spring in the air. I planted seeds. I fed the birds. I thanked the trees and the vast blue sky. I bowed to the majesty of the earth. Did it make a difference? Did it matter at all? What will I remember of this day, washed away, crumpled evidence of laundry on the floor, by the shower door?
One day will be my last day. My last yoga class to teach. My last performance to sing. My last seed to plant. One day I will look down on this discarded body, the legs that were strong, the arms that were freckled, the stomach that was white, the curves that were soft, the head that was curly. Did it make a difference? Did it matter at all? What will I remember of this life, washed away, crumpled evidence of an empty body on the floor?
I bow to this mystery, to this crazy dAnce of life, to this wild existAnce. I bow to the beauty. I bow to the pain. I bow to the remains of the shell that carried me through this journey, through this lifetime. I bow deeply, and I depart.