Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Snow

After having left Alaska, I almost feel homesick. I want so badly to be back. To experience the rest of the summer there. To be out of this heat. So I have been contemplating snow. I am reading a book called The Snow Tourist: A search for the world's purest, deepest snowfall, by Charlie English.

I just thought I would share some of the first pictures of snow ever taken, with you. Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, the man that took the pictures, developed an intense curiosity for snow when he was child in Jericho City, Vermont. He saw his first magnified snowflake at the age of 15 and began photographing them at 17. He was the first person to ever photograph a snowflake.

Mr. Bentley was thought of as eccentric and sometimes crazy. He tried not to let the towns people's disinterest, nor their comments of his mental state, bother him. To me, his magnificent passion has brought beauty beyond measure. There have been many that have come after, including Masaru Emoto, who wrote The Hidden Messages in Water. Emoto experimented on the effects of positive and negative energy on water as it formed into ice crystals then photographed the results.

Above a water crystal formed with the words "Love and Gratitude" adhered to the dish it was frozen in. Below and ice crystal formed with the words "You make me sick" adhered to it. 
Both books are a fascinating read. The Snow Tourist gives a, perhaps unintended, perspective on global warming and capitalism, while The Hidden Messages in Water shows what effect positive energy has on increasing beauty. Hopefully you get a moment to check them out.

The Calm Before The Storm

Everything is dead calm. There's no breeze. The air is so still and thick with moisture that it's stifling. I can't remember ever observing this in my own front yard before. She's sitting next to me, looking east. She tells me that the reason the light is coming from the east, even though the sun is setting in the west, is because sun is reflecting on the rain from this magnificent storm heading our way. She tells me that back in Minnesota when the air would cease to move it meant a tornado was coming. I think maybe all the butterflies in China are sleeping. She tells me that a lazy breeze will start, getting stronger in the passing minutes. She tells me that the wind will start coming from all directions, north, south, east and west. She tells me that I will smell the storm soon after the wind picks up. I know these things. Still, I haven't been present in a weather moment like I am now; my heart at peace and my love sitting next to me. I have taken it for granted. Then the lazy breeze blows, a mystery I surely will never be able to totally wrap my brain around. The mystery is not that she said it would happen, but that a gentle wind just started. Something from nothing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Showering (Written from the Road)

I thought about many things when I was driving to and from Alaska. Some of those thoughts were funny, maybe only to me though. Some of those thoughts were private and if I let them be, life changing. Some of those thoughts were about what I would write about for this blog. And for the last six days, I have been thinking about a shower. It’s been 8 days since water has touched the whole of my body. Why wouldn’t I want a shower, right? Except why do I? 
As Americans, we are so used to having a shower every day and I wonder why that is. As a child, Tris had a bath only once a week, on Sundays. When she got into high school, she bathed only one extra time a week. I remember taking hose showers after swimming at my grandmas or three of us at a time in the shower or bath at my mom’s sisters. There were 7 of us girls all together and only when we hit puberty did we get to shower alone, and only then just to wash our hair and body, no lolly gagging. 
Tris and I can smell each other, but it’s not offensive. I have watched people as she passes them to see if there is a wrinkle nose reaction, or worse, the inconspicuous nose cover or plug, but nothing. We ate at a sit down restaurant yesterday, after we crossed the border, and the waitress didn’t mouth breath or give any other indication that we were offensive. I am not arguing that we don’t smell, but I am arguing that the human body odor is not as gross as we have been taught to believe it is. 
So how often is often enough to shower? In the AZ winter, probably once a week is good enough. In the summer, once a day seems like it’s not enough. What’s a girl to do? 
UPDATE: Since we have been back, we have taken at least one shower a day, not to de-smell, but to cool off. It’s a huge waste of water, but it’s also a trade off. Run the A/C constantly or quickly cool down in a lukewarm shower. (Lukewarm because it doesn’t get any cooler in 115°F heat.)