Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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If we were having coffee this weekend in Tucson I would bring a pitcher of water and another of iced beverage of your choice out to the pool. The only place to be on a day when the temperature reaches 106 degrees is in the pool. I have all manner of flotation devices, and there is a table in the shade where we can sit for a chat after we get wet. If you feel energetic we could chat while we do some exercise in the water. I have taught swimming and water exercise for years, and although I am not currently certified in lifesaving I will keep you safe. Come on in. The water is perfect.
This week was relatively uneventful, if you exclude all the political action in Washington, DC. I do watch with interest while Micheal Bloomberg, the states, and cities step up to fight climate change. I am happy to see all the marchers for science but in Arizona this is not possible at the moment. We must protest fro the pool. I think the best way for me to contribute to the entire issue of environmental protection is to act personally. I think I am carbon conservative, but there are probably a few more items I could buy locally or go without for the good of the planet. Rather than review the international scene, although that is of interest, I am looking for ways I can reduce my personal consumption of water, gasoline, and electricity.
While I fill your ice water glass again please tell me about your writing projects and your week. Did you finish or start any new writing? I admire those of you who write long works of fiction. I may attempt it someday, inspired by your success. It takes discipline as well as talent to do a long write. I have written a few short pieces of fiction, but this week I created a poem in response to Sue Vincent’s photo prompt. It was about death, and was fully depressing like the previous week’s. I do wonder at my creative self when I come up with all this dark gloomy haunted stuff. I also wonder if that is a direction I should try to go for a longer story..haunted and creepy is a genre, after all. I also wrote about my ancestors and tea, so it was not all gloom and doom…except the ancestors are dead, of course. I wrote about some from the Byzantine Empire this week.
I think perhaps I am haunted by the politics playing out before me, but that does not matter. Creative responses to horror and terror have always been used to change things. Satirists are having a having a hay day with all the crazy times in which we live. I wish I could draw cartoons, but I think this talent will be for another lifetime. I will have to stick to poems to express my distaste, rage, or general revolt. How do you best protest, gentle reader?Do tell, what makes you revolt (silently or otherwise)?
If you are in the mood, feel free to cannonball before you go. Hydrate fully, and stay safe. Please join the coffee party on the weekend hosted by Emily at Nerd in the Brain. Contribute a post, or read, comment, and visit here.
People tell stories about the time before the stone wall was built. The streams and rivers flowed freely and served everyone as they went by. Water to run small mills and to irrigate crops was plentiful and easy to find. Family farmers subsided and even thrived in years when the weather was favorable. The community members provided for each other, and the simple agricultural life was comfortable. They had plenty of food, shelter, and water.
Progress came to the area in the form of a land buy out by a large estate owner who wanted to experiment in modern farming techniques. His ignorance of nature combined badly with his lame and greedy attitude toward those with deep knowledge of working the land. He changed the landscape, moved the waterways to suit his purposes, and set out to build an empire. He had a monopoly on all the waterways in the valley, having sewn up all the land on which the tributaries flowed. His signature move was a large stone wall he built. It stood in the middle of stream, with tunnels to handle the water as it flowed beneath the structure. He was secure and pleased with his conquest of this natural resource when all hell literally broke loose. With a crack of thunder and a flash of lightening the sky broke open with a stormy and deadly response to his lack of respect for Mother Nature.
The flash flood poured over all the banks and rushed through the canals and tunnels like an angry dragon. Destruction and erosion brought famine to the land, once ripe and productive. Once the greedy land owner gave up the ghost the land itself returned to a riparian state. The farmers did not return, so the land has been fallow for centuries. It no longer feeds or shelters people. The natural world has taken the place of the former residents. The streams flow sweetly and green moss covers the ancient stone as if nothing had ever happened. All is forgotten.
We fished and swam in the rivers, let our storms run down the street
It did not occur to us that one day our water supply would retreat
The plants and landscape told us our methods were made to defeat
The natural song of the rain and the snow, converting to concrete
When our hillsides and forests burned down and washed out to sea
It left us with few choices, no resources, just a distant memory
Of springs and brooks and underground streams that filled our land
We can no longer feed our people, our lives slip by like sand
In the hourglass of history no single ruler takes the burden of blame
For the killing of the living waters. All we can say is it is a shame
All month in April you can enjoy reading poetry submitted from around the world at #NaPoWriMo. Discover new poets or write some yourself. It is all in good fun. You may find a poem in you that needs to be written.
On the way down to the river the thick grass rustled as we walked
Animals scampered away as we approached, finding shelter
Our thirsty tired bodies were weary from days of hiding and running
The heat of the day was dry and brutally bright with white sunlight
Tears fell into the river when we finally touched the water at last
Our latest disaster might be averted by this running stream we found
We can fill ourselves and our canteens with liquid we hope is not foul
Our lives have become precarious, supported merely by twists of fate
There is no question that we must drink it, polluted or not, or we will perish
Hot springs around the world have been used for healing purposes for centuries. The word spa is derived from a backronym (created in later times) in Latin, Salus per aquam, health through water. The meaning has been broadened to such an extent that today it is hard to know what it means. To me it still means drinking and soaking in mineral spring water. I have visited many spots around the world to enjoy balneotherapy and the benefits of drinking specialty water. On our road trip I am introducing my friend to the concept. We are staying 3 nights in Desert Hot Springs at the Miracle Springs Resort. This is the best deal I know for a mineral hot spring stay in the United States. There are small hotels and inns all around town with the water, but only this one, and the sister spa next door, to which guests also have access, offer so much space and so many different water temperatures available 24 hours daily. Nights under the stars are particularly wonderful in the pools.
My friend has just retired from work and had never experienced body work. I encouraged him to try it. He enjoyed his first massage tremendously. His therapist was excellent, according to him. Prices for services here are very reasonable, and I have always had good results. The hotel has upgraded some of the amenities since my last visit, and changed managers. The staff is professional, knowledgeable, and very friendly. The initiation of my friend has been very successful. He is quickly turning into a spa bunny.
If you think spa means nail salon, jacuzzi, or an all-inclusive week-long excercise program I urge you to think again. Health is our only real wealth. A few days of mineral water hot spring soaking and drinking can make a world of difference to your wellbeing.
Water finds the way to flow around and over any obstacle encountered
Vertical drop, narrow banks of rocky cliffs send a river splashing downward
Like the River Rhone flows through the Lake of Geneva, energy remains
The signature of rushing liquid communicating exactly like the rains
Falling from the heavens, moving mountains, shaking boulders free
Direction has not been questioned because every drop is heading to the sea
Enjoy the creativity available all during the month of April here. Ride the poetry train to deepen your understanding and appreciation of art and life.
This week people are tired of being cold, so I have thought of a good way to warm up and meet for coffee at the same time. We will use our terry cloth transporter cloaks and magical bathing suits (we all look very good in these) to visit Desert Hot Springs, California. We will sit in warm and hot pools right on top of the San Andreas fault and ask the poolside server to bring our drinks to us in the water. We are going to spa down today, my friends, and feel much better for it. We will soak in the sun and the minerals in the soaking pools at Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel, possibly the most bizarre place in the universe. Since this is a day trip I think this is the very best place to be in town to meet. I look forward to listening to your stories of the week. Mine has been easy. My dog has taken a positive turn in her health, which makes our family happy. She still has some frailty, but is not suffering. We are feel lucky to spend more time with her in good spirit and decent health. She is in her doghouse resting, so she will not even notice I have flown to California for a while.
If we had an overnight I might consider one of the small mineral water hotels with more privacy, but for coffee and a sun tan this is a funky fabulous world I know you will love. There are Russians and eastern Euros here every time I come, and I expect to hear some Canadian snowbirds in the crowd too. There is such a demand from the Russians that the weekend servers speak Russian and take care of the customers in their own language. For some reason the eastern Euro/Russian spa bunnies prefer this older vintage style hotel. The sister spa next door is very popular with Korean mineral water lovers. Both groups are fun to watch for fashion thrills. You will see some bathing suits that you know for sure have not been purchased in the US. Since we are wearing magic (digital) suits, it is okay to copy one that you like and wear it home. Make sure you fill up your drinking water bottles because the town has sweet, untreated drinking water that wins competitions and comes right out of every tap. It is delicious, and you need to stay hydrated while you soak.
When we are relaxed and warmed to the bone, I hope you will visit the museum up the hill that will show the story of the discovery of the special wells that made this historic spa famous. The other wonderful sight to see before you leave is Joshua Tree National Monument, just a few miles up the road. It is popular with rock climbers for the vertical challenge and spectacular views. Desert wild flowers will be in bloom now at different elevations, flashing intense saturated colors. I wish you a safe and happy flight to your destination. Thanks for dropping in on our spa coffee break.
I like to work out in both the warm and cool water in the morning. If I go early the pool is in the shade, which my skin requires for happy water dancing. The warm jacuzzi is perfect with the steps and handle for my long stretches and yoga postures. The ladder in the deep end of the big pool provides similar advantages. Not featured in the video here is the full set of steps with a handrail in the sallow end. There are endless stretches and sun salutation variations that can be done when you have steps. Each pool has its advantages. Some pools and bodies of water have dangerous safety issues to consider. A water movement routine can take advantage of all depths of water and all architectural features that are safely installed. In nature you can use the tide or the current to your advantage if you are careful and have a clear understanding.
I am very lucky to have such a warm climate and pools that suit my purposes right at home. In the winter our community pool is not heated, but the large jacuzzi is, so I can still enjoy a stretchy warm water work out at all times of the year. My body is used to this kind of large movement in water and starts to miss it if I am away for very long. The only places I like better than my own pools at home are hot springs pools. My idea of pure bliss is to Floatli for hours in a mineral hot spring with a nice view. Glenwood Springs, Colorado comes to mind. I also love Desert Hot Springs, California. Euro hot springs resorts are the bomb. Where do you like to go in the water, Gentle Reader? Do you have a pool, beach or lake near your home? How do you like to enjoy the water?
Tethys was a titan, which means an original goddess, before Zeus and the Olympians took over the pantheon. Her sisters were Nyx and Gaia, who ruled darkness and the earth. She was Mother of the Sea, ruling clouds, springs, rivers, and streams. Her children were called Oceanids. Water is the emotional element; Tides, currents and undertows closely resemble human emotional forces. The energy or wave of an emotion passes through the body as well as the life of the person involved. Tethys is known as the goddess of nursing, and if you think of feeding the earth with clean water, her services are needed more than ever today. To get in touch with Tethys realize that flow and currents can be ridden, but it is folly to fight against them. Emotional problems are the same; Denial or repression will not end them, but can make the ride much rougher. You can not change the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Floating is a pleasant sensation that requires letting go of the edge. Floating has a lot to do with breathing;if you think about it it is obvious. Inflation of the lungs floats the thoracic cavity. Body fat floats very nicely, so having the right distribution is helpful to effortless floatation. Tension will sink the body, so this effort to attain emptiness and nothingness is impossible to fake. Most people reflexively hold their breath in water, and are unaware of their breathing altogether. Athletic muscular people often can’t swim very far because they exchange very little oxygen with shallow breathing. Tension and fatigue set in quickly when you have no air to use during an aerobic activity. Fully exhaling underwater is the first step to doing everything else you ever want to do in water for the rest of your life. Once you know you can exhale, and have changed your reflex by blowing bubbles each time your face is in the water you have begun to take control of the situation. Since there is a natural fear factor, this is not so much an intellectual practice as a physical one.
Teaching a young child to float, blow bubbles, and eventually swim is a chance to instill confidence and self esteem. Both parent and child develop confidence and build trust during this important introduction to a dangerous environment in which they can easily drown. Fear is entirely appropriate for non swimmers around water, no matter how old they may be. A parent or teacher’s job in showing young children the pleasures of swimming and water sports is to draw clear safety guidelines. Adults must set boundaries, define rules, and perhaps for the first time in a kid’s young life, assign appropriate punishment for violating pool or lesson rules. Even if kids are good strong swimmers they can potentially be injured or injure others if left without any supervision or guidelines. In order to preserve the joy and fun in visiting the pool or lake use common sense:
The same rules apply for adult swimmers. Pace yourself and stay safe. Doing nothing but floating on your back in the water taking deep breaths can become easy, but it requires complete focus. Start in shallow water and work up to going deeper. Like the backbend in yoga, the trust fall into water requires a level of confidence that can only be acquired through practice.