I’ve just had a bath: a long, deep, soothing bubbly one with my favourite Seaweed & Sage body wash that smells of the sea. Yes: I do like a bath, far more than a shower. Baths are luxurious, indulgent, immersive by nature whereas showers are short, sharp, functional cascades. Both cleanse your skin but, what other thoughts surface during this submersion without suffocation?
Lying in fragrant warm water in the afternoon light felt incredibly decadent.
Bathtime at 3.00pm: a luxury, a stolen delight, a not-quite-guilty pleasure.
Luxuriating in the balminess, hair flowing like kelp, I came to think about my – our – response to water, to being in water, to being by water. Is it a remaining link to our time in the womb, surrounded by our mother’s nurturing and protective amniotic fluid allowing us space to find our limbs and the boundary of our yet unborn universe? Is my bath a vestige of that first container and safe place?
My mind, lulled by the warmth, floated off, travelling further back in time, to those strange creatures that slithered out of the soupy swampy water and sought to live on land, slowly losing tails and gills, growing legs and lungs and learning to live in air. Is our love – and fear – of water something primal, pre-primal even: how can we reconnect with this element that gives life on this blue planet, two-thirds of which is ocean. We are two-thirds water too. I grew up near the sea and yearn for that moving, ever changing, unpredicatable but never boring body of water that connects us and shapes our world and history.
The recent super blue blood moon flows into the mix: the beautiful luminous, numinous night-time light that brought wonder to the January cold. The moon, the benign yet powerful force that controls oceans, wombs, and rhythms throughout the natural wild world. The moon is linked to the feminine, the mystical, the shadow, the glorious curious presence that grows and subsides reflecting our own life phases.
I now remember my friend Chin Yueh – whose name meant Glorious Moon – and introduced herself here as Ophelie… a moon by another name. Sadly, our little lady moon died almost three years ago, much too soon. Knowing her felt like the super blue blood moon – a rare and precious treasure. She was well named with a gentleness that was at once supremely feminine and serene but tempered with the inner strength and determination of a Taiwanese black bear. I loved her. I miss her humour and wisdom. Her directness and sensitivity. I knew her all too briefly like a shaft of moonlight on a dark clear night that, once felt, seen, experienced, illuminated is never forgotten. I also remember her husband who unable to live without her, died a year later, almost to the day. Yin and Yang, moon and sun reunited.