The forecast called for a blizzard, and officially it met the requirements to be called one in some places. Not so much where I call home. But a significant storm nonetheless. A storm you take seriously. A storm you hunker down in. A storm in which an adventurous spirit might look out at the hot tub and think to oneself, “I’m going in, now”. And fancying myself so, I changed into a bathing suit, slipped on my adidas slides, a cap and the warmest shirt I own and headed out into the swirl.
Taking a broom with me, I swept a path through the 4 inches of light accumulation to the tub, swept off the cover, opened the tub and took a deep breath. Off came the warm shirt and the tickle of snow landing on my back greeted me immediately. Stepping out of the slides into the 39 degree Celsius/103 degree Fahrenheit water, I felt the sting of fast-frozen toes meeting heat. I quickly brought my other foot in for the party and dropped down to chin level to warm myself.
Immersing yourself in hot tubs (or hot springs) is supposed to improve your health in several ways. First, it puts you in a state of weightlessness, easing stress on your joints and relaxing muscles. But it also improves cardiovascular health and helps lower your blood pressure. The jets in a hot tub offer some massage for those sore muscles. But mostly a hot tub draws the stress out of you and plunges you into a relaxed state.
That state change is most obvious when you’re sitting in hot swirling water in a snowstorm, with the steam rising up to meet the snow as it swirled down to reunite with the water. That’s some extreme swirling, to be sure, and with your head places squarely on the line between chaos and order, Yin and Yang, you have a front row seat for the dance. Too much in either direction and you’ll freeze or drown. Choices. It was life, amplified, in the splurgy decadence of a hot tub in a blizzard.
The fine snow accumulated all around me, coating all cool surfaces. I felt it landing on my exposed skin, sliding down to greet the hot water or melting in surrender to the warmth of my body. But the snowy assault kept on relentlessly. My knit cap, my eyelashes and nose collected snow. The line between chaos and order is very thin in such conditions, and I delighted in the opportunity to be right there. Nothing else mattered in that moment.
But all good things must end, and at some point you’ve got to brace yourself for the retreat from the hot tub through the swirling snow to the warm house. This is best done with purpose, and I reached up and shook off a towel, quickly stood and wrapped my shoulders and reached for my wool shirt, shook that off too and replaced the towel with the cold shirt as I got up. I offered the adidas a dip in hot water to clean off the snow and slipped them on.
It was all a choreographed dance on the edge of chaos, and I loved it without lingering. Buttoning up the hot tub and walking through the accumulation was my penance paid for the indulgence. Still radiating heat, I shuffled back to reality while scheming a return.