Sundays are sometimes dedicated to trying to keep warm. We hide under blankets, we wear multiple layers, we stand under a hot shower for longer than we should, or we read in the bath. I don’t have a bathtub, but I’m moving into a place this week which has a bathtub, so I’ve been thinking a lot more about baths than I usually do. I’m tall and I don’t fit in most bathtubs, but I’m a big fan of showering. I feel like my brain works better in the shower, and it’s a good place to go when I’m feeling stuck. I assume this has something to do with the primacy of the metaphor of baptism in this society. My friend tells me that hot water on the skin stimulates blood flow, bringing more oxygen to the brain. Is this why we feel slower on a cold winter day?
As always, I also suggest Sunday as an OK day of the week to spend thinking. By all means, get under that blanket, or recline in the bath-tub, but take a few minutes to consider yourself and your surroundings. I don’t know if you meditate, but maybe give it a try. Bring your eyes closed or half-closed. Count to four as you breathe in, and count to four as you breathe out. Focus on that breath. As each thought comes into your mind, consider it, and then let it drift away. Set a timer for ten minutes, and see if you can just sit with yourself, trying to keep your mind as open as possible during that time. Let me know how it goes.
A poem follows below.
The major barriers to work
are the moments in which
we do not work.
Because we are distracted by a crush
or there are dishes to do.
Maybe the laundry machine’s done.
Or it’s Christmas day.
I have a friend who fell asleep
on their eyeglasses
and broke them
and could not afford new ones —
the third pair broken this year.
He didn’t want to tell his mother.
Now all of his drawings
are a bit crooked.
The people combine with each other,
someone’s arm becomes someone else’s ribs.
over pale brown hot water —
green tea —
he shows me
and I think they are great.
“These are great pictures”
I tell him
and he smiles.
The tea bubbles at his lips.
He sucks the tea into his mouth
and spills it over his tongue.
I know this because
this is what you do with tea.
I lift up the cup
and it misses my lips
and the tea goes down my chin
and down the front of my shirt.
This post was originally written on December 27, 2015 for Latitude 53, while I was their Writer in Residence.