This morning, while I was waiting for the kettle to boil, I stretched out on my back in a patch of sun: I put my hands under my head and closed my eyes, I wiggled my toes in the sand. It’s easy to lie in the sun on a beach and do nothing. Usually it’s very hard to do nothing.
(Normally my husband, who gets up first, claims the front section of the paper and the patch of sun, though he prefers a deck chair under a sun umbrella to naked sun and sand, but he’s away this week.)
Then, before I decided it was time To Do Something, I took a nice hot shower, I just stood and let the hot water pour over me. Re-bliss. Feeling a twinge of guilt about Not Doing Anything but enjoying the sensation of hot water running down me, I stretched a bit, before I realized I wasn’t enjoying the hot water any more. I went back to standing under the waterfall. Moss underfoot.
Add to the list of places in which one can blissfully do nothing, that of sitting in a Paris hammam or steam bath. It’s ok to listen to other women’s conversations, sip mint tea, or get a massage.
What nags at me is why there are places in which one is perfectly happy just lapping up heat—essentially just being a body--and others where this doesn’t work at all? Maybe Gaugin, Rimbaud, Baudelaire were onto something: “There, all is only order and beauty, / Luxe, calme et volupté”?