by Lisa Walter
The hot springs are a million tiny feathers uplifting my tired body. I float on my back and let the healing waters caress and rejuvenate me like a mother’s gentle touch. This is what the soul needs, what the soul craves in those real world moments fraught with heartache and hassles. Miraculous mineral water coaxes out the aches and pains, but it’s the stillness we seek more than anything.
Then it snows. Impossible, but true. The night sky is deep and black and crystal clear, yet snowflakes big as saucers drift lazily down onto my face, my forehead, my nose. Steam rises from the outdoor pool against the night chill, a misty veil against the backdrop of red rocks and mountains carving out the horizon. A woman buoys past me in the water, emerging from the mist like a dream, holding onto a kicking board like another lost soul passing in the night. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” She offers, conversationally. I agree. The whole world holds its breath as snowflakes meander downward and melt in the water, like a spell that can’t be broken, miraculous and mysterious as life itself.
I roll over onto my back again, muting out all other sounds except my own rhythmic breathing. I think of my sister in the lodge across the street, probably drinking a glass of wine and facebooking on her tablet. She brought a Middle Sister red with her last night, marking her birthday in style and our annual trip to the mountains to celebrate, and we giggled at the sassy label before raising our plastic hotel cups in a toast. Middle sisters we, and fiercely close and loyal despite our upbringing.
The snow has stopped and it’s time to get out of the water, get ready for dinner. I’m ready for a glass of wine, too, and I want to call my husband and kids back home. I miss the kids’ chirpy little voices, hearing news of their school day and stories of Katy playing football with the boys at recess or Colin’s guitar lesson. I want to tell my husband that I miss him, but I linger. The night is cold and instead I will my mind to be still, and for one perfect moment I am truly grateful, truly at peace.
It doesn’t last, but for that brief moment I am fully aware of the gifts I’ve been given. In the spirit of vacation and the coming Thanksgiving, in the spirit of sisters and health and the beauty and wonder of nature and this crazy little thing called family, I am blissfully aware and truly thankful. The thought settles around me, embracing and uplifting like the water itself. I take one last breath and dunk my head under for good measure, and then I scramble out, shivering under stars dotting the dark sky. And as I hurry across the street in my robe and fuzzy pink slippers, my mind captures one last thought like a butterfly in a net before returning to my crazy busy life: “Let my sense of wonder be as pure as the new fallen snow.”