October 29, 2012
It is fall already. The foggy winds are blowing hard. The stone fruits are about finished. The California hillsides are dried up golden, and leaves are starting to wither and hit the dirt.
And I must say I don’t feel quite ready! I personally love fall, but this year I find myself fighting the seasonal change–maybe because late summer was so sweet. Consequently I am just not living up to my own (high) expectations that I will gracefully transition into WHATEVER: a new season, a new job, a body transition or a mini-life crisis.
I admit I’ve been hiding out in the bathroom a little. I know it’s reclusive of me, but that is part of the fall transition too. Let me try and explain.
A friend pointed out to me that I always feel a bit deciduous this time of year. Certainly I grow tired of gardening (though there is always one last push through the cutting back of the perennials and moving things around before winter and the holidays set in). Heaving my hoe is slowly giving way to resting on my shovel…it’s almost that time. Maybe another month and a half to get through before the big rest? It depends on the rains.
So anyhow, in the evenings, (as I try to escape the sounds of another baseball game) I occasionally take a bath. It’s the remedy for my autumn malady: a pretend rain, filled with the sounds of actual rushing water, spruced up by beeswax candles and fragrant herbs to bathe in. A little herbal ocean…
Just a few of my favorites are: redwood needles or passionflower vine, fresh calendula, rose petals, sage. It is amazing how alive one can feel after slipping into a bath with actual plants floating all around you. I am so grateful that Kami McBride, my first herbal teacher, encouraged myself and fellow students to experiment with the healing powers of the herbal bath. I remember her describing this incredible outdoor tub that she had taken in the woods beneath the stars. As she told her story, the bath became a metaphor for the cosmos, with the immersed human body as galaxy and plant bits as individual floating stars. It sounded literally out of this world.
While most of us don’t have access to a star-infused setting, the benefits of herbal bathing still run very deep.
I for one feel closer to nature and more aware of my amazing skin suit and the job it has to do. More importantly, a bath helps me slow down and feel that relaxation can be a state of being, something I am trying to cultivate more of these days. It helps me remember that within the human body, we contain all the elements of the cosmos. Even as the winds and rain of autumn whip us around on the outside, we can take comfort in the quiet expanse within.