It’s such a shame that water is such a precious and limited resource.
Coming home from a long day at work, or after any emotionally taxing day, there’s nothing better than a nice long shower – hot in winter, and ice cold in summer.
For me, I don’t think it’s as much about the feel of the water on my skin as it is about the complete immersion in the sound. Sure, the cooling/warming feeling (as the season requires) is soothing, and certainly helps to ease the tension from my body, but what I’ve come to realise is that the sound – the noise – is paramount.
When I’m in the shower, the rush of the water surrounds me, and it’s almost like I’m in an entirely separate world – a world within a world, perhaps. No sounds from the outside world can penetrate in. It’s even almost loud enough to drown out the roar thoughts swirling in my mind. Almost.
For a moment, I can forget myself.
Some people sing in the shower – apparently it’s one of the most popular/common places for people to sing – but I only occasionally sing in the shower. Often I’m too lost in the sound of the water; often that’s the only sound I need. To add even my own voice to the beautiful cacophony would burst this precious bubble of rejuvenation.
I would take longer showers if I didn’t have so much of a conscience when it comes to conserving water. I would happily stand under the shower for an extra five minutes each night, all meditative and Zen, if it never crossed my mind how many people around the world barely have enough water to drink, let alone shower. And let’s not even get started on the water bill.
I remember there was one time I was upset about something, and I wanted to cry, so I went to have a shower, thinking that the safe privacy might release my tears. Instead, I found that I simply could not cry; and for however long I was in the shower, and for some time afterwards, I felt like maybe I would be ok.
Amazing, isn’t it, that something so commonplace and everyday could have such an effect?
Often I find that I don’t notice or realise how all-encompassing the sound of the shower is – how completely it blocks out everything else – until the very end, when I finally turn the water off. There’s never a gradual turning off of the water – it’s always an abrupt, complete cessation – so the contrast between noise and silence is immense.
It doesn’t take long, though, for the sounds of the outside world to filter back in. As the water streams and drips from my body, the clatter of the kitchen, the murmur of the TV, and the hum of distant traffic, all filter back into my consciousness. Again, I re-enter the outside world.
I don’t take baths, though. I probably haven’t had a bath since I was a kid, and can hardly imagine how they would be relaxing. There’d simply be too much silence for my thoughts to fill. And all that stillness would surely make me restless. No, I’d much rather take a nice long shower.
And then there is the rain. I know I’m definitely not alone in my appreciation of rainy days, but I do generally prefer to be inside when it’s raining. A light mist or spitting rain is perfect for walking or running in, but it must be a proper downpour – one that drowns out almost all other sounds – in order to have that cleansing and meditative quality.
Walking through the rain this morning to meet some friends for brunch, it was raining pretty heavily. I walked for about half an hour in this deluge, making my way through puddles and flooded paths, under dripping trees and over damp grass. Apart from a couple of glances at my watch to gauge how late I was going to be, there was little space for me to think of anything else other than my next step, where I was going, and, of course, the rain itself.
As I’m writing this, almost on cue, the rain outside has intensified. I love sunny days – clear blue skies streaked with soft white clouds – but there’s something marvellous about rain. Isn’t it incredible, the power of something as simple as flowing water?