The water is off for the winter, so it is pot baths in spring water all around. I kneel over the shower drain and pour scoops of scalding water over my back; it takes a meandering path between each of my vertebrae. My hands shake. The fat candle sputters next to me as I dip my hair into the pot. I have to keep washing as I inadvertently pick up more pot black from the base of the kettle. I alternately shiver and burn; I can't help but find it eerie to crouch bare and white in the silver of last light, the forest creeping in through the open window--not a soul to see me.
Strands of wet hair stick to my freckled shoulders and I feel the cleanest of cleans; beautiful. It is only to be found in this spring, these streams, that lake. Clean. Why do clean and dirt and green all crop up in the same thought phrases? I comb my dripping hair in the dim. A hummingbird zips home to sleep. I rub lavender oil into my skin. The cracked mirror gleams. Bag balm for my lips. Lastly I dress: softest of shirts, oldest of shorts. I hear the last pops from the fire pit and the generator roaring to life. I step out into the bedtime bustle.
Pajamas on, beds set out, treats unhidden, the snap and hiss of Black Cherry Shasta cans, the crack of stuck matches, puff and glow of lighting candles. Dark descends. Dad puts on the kettle. We scrounge for cards. Grandpa turns off the generator. And we sit up into the night. Dark and light. Beautiful. And I always win at cards. Beautiful.