One of the crucial factors which make me an unsuitable candidate for time travel back to pre-20th Century America or Europe is my love of hot water. A hot shower ameliorates, at least temporarily, a variety of symptoms. Beyond that, it provides pleasure when I have been feeling those symptoms acutely. In a hot shower I can be alone, attend to my own needs, and smooth the transition to bed, making it more possible that I will be able to sleep.
Even when I’m not sick, a hot shower or bath is a place of relaxation, enjoyment, and solitude that can be enjoyed to the fullest whether I’m in it for mere moments or many minutes.
I have always loved the paean to hot water sung by Pippin in “The Hobbit,” by J.R.R. Tolkien. It runs so closely to my own sentiments, that I have thought for a while that I should print it up on nice paper, frame it, and put it in the bathroom for my amusement and comfort in moments joyful, mundane, and difficult.
Sing hey! for the bath at close of day
That washes the weary mud away!
A loon is he that will not sing:
O! Water Hot is a noble thing!
O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain.
and the brook that leaps from hill to plain;
but better than rain or rippling streams
is Water Hot that smokes and steams.
O! Water cold we may pour at need
down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed;
but better is Beer, if drink we lack,
and Water Hot poured down the back.
O! Water is fair that leaps on high
in a fountain white beneath the sky;
but never did fountain sound so sweet
as splashing Hot Water with my feet!
And indeed, a shower this evening helped me get to a better place. I have been feeling abjectly terrible, fighting the worst and most persistent sore throat I’ve had in years. This state was further enhanced by my falling down the stairs this morning and adding bruises and soreness to the rest of my bodily ills. So, I have taken some NyQuil, not my usual course, but I am hoping for some reasonable sleep tonight, and a chance to get better.
Nonetheless, it was wonderful to come home and see my family, to hear Emily say, “Mama! Mama!”, to nurse my twins, to snuggle with Hazel (who fell asleep on me), and to talk with Ted. I am going to try counting my blessings after I turn off the light tonight, to at the very least cultivate a more peaceful state of mind.
And the first one is, my family.