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To This

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Is there anything I can do for you?

With total conviction I looked up and said: Yes.  Can you throw me a bath?

Her eyes lit up like candles.  Give me twenty minutes.

I went to Washington to write.  To chip away at the cloudiness in my mind.  To make a statement to myself that it’s time.

It’s time.  Your bath is ready and I put lavender in it for you, of course.

The last time I found myself naked and being purified from the inside out my fingers clawed at bare dirt searching for any square inch of relief –any tiny settlement of coolness to grant me comfort, while I laid there dying and being born again in a sweat lodge in Ojai.

This bath transported me back.  Back to pruned skin against midnight air.  Back to broken sandals, volcanic rock, sweetgrass on fire, the smell of smoke in my hair.

It took me even further back,  to a hospital room, cinder blocks, Madonna on the radio, and wondering why they never bothered to stop talking about dinner plans as they yanked my baby from my exposed belly.

Go to him, hold his hand, I cried as the room kept spinning counter clockwise.

That bath water was so hot that I struggled to breathe and poured every ounce of attention I had on the crispness of my breath.  Inhale — like folding a napkin.  Exhale — watching sheets flutter in the wind.  Further I slipped into memories.  Further I followed the breadcrumbs that lead me here in the first place.

To a bath in Washington.  To a house full of strangers I instantly knew as friends.  To a landscape of pebbles,  broken shells,  trees with skin instead of bark.

To me at 39, a mother, a wife, a daughter who lives clear across the country because she couldn’t get her shit together in her own hometown.

To this.  To delicately choosing rocks that I could line up on driftwood.  Each one representing a chakra  — an energy spinning wildly within me.

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