Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter Lavender on the Road

A Pelindaba challenge.

Wouldn't you think that what would stand out in my mind would be memories of the sea reclaiming the icy sand or ocean fog so thick on the gray shore that my eyes detect the incoming waves only moments before my feet. The saving grace of bone chilling Pacific fog is that it cannot survive before the wind. The air must be perfectly still for the ocean mist to gather on shore. There is no wind to chill us. Even so, the thick mist soaks every strand of hair right to the scalp. It saturates fabric. Long before my feet find the hard sand of the tide, my socks have already wicked in the wet of the air.

Generally I warm up with I walk. Given enough distance I generate internal heat that starts a routine of pulling off gloves, unzipping jackets and loosening my scarf to release the heat. I never get to that point on a north-west winter beach. There comes a point when I start feeling grateful that God is not irritated with me for praying that I will not miss the path back to our trailer with its compact comforts when there are bigger issues calling out for His aid.

Before entering the little camping trailer, everything that came in contact with the sand has to be removed, shoes, jeans, and all that clings to puppy paws. The only way to get the ice cold wet out of my hair is to wash it out. My hair is soaked anyway. The hot water won't last a long time, so no long showers. Relaxation from the warmth of that little shower and I can shut it off for a little while, finding myself in the warm steam with a lavender soap. The scent of the speckled bar lathering in my hands brings my mind back to a hot summer day on a sloped lavender garden, fragrant in the afternoon heat, a pair of eagles flirting above the pond that defines the bottom of the hill. The chill brings me back, so I flip the hot water back on, attempting to absorb as much heat as possible. Before toweling off, I slather a puddle of lavender oil on my wet skin, blotting it with the water. It leaves me feeling soft and fragrant. The sensual scent should make me feel relaxed and sleepy but instead I am energized the way a cat seems to be after a slow stretch. Alive and ready to pounce on the moment.

Darkness comes early to a northwest winter night. Candles are the right light for early night. Our little trailer is full of homespun lavender prizes. The candles gently scent the tiny home with San Juan lavender. The soup on the burner was seasoned with Pelindaba lavender pepper. The soft dough for whole wheat fluffy dumplings that I am about to drop into the bubbling cauldron has been generously flavored from the herbs d'Provence tin. After the dishes have been put away, and everything stashed back in its place, after the candles have been snuffed out, and the air is fragrant with the scent of summer, we tuck deeply in the thick quilt and listen to the storm. The wind is asserting herself and tonight, for as long as we can keep our eyes open, we will see the stars. Security in the arms of the only one whose love I trust. I wonder, does the feeling of safety in the storm come from a full belly and loving arms? Or is it the angels who stand guard against the storm at the bidding of God, perfumed with the sleepy smell of little purple buds.

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