I went to the hot springs for a long soak in a 1920s style bathtub. The dim room of a dozen bathtubs for women, separated by white curtains, smelled faintly of Sulphur. After the soak, I wrapped in a large thin towel and walked into the adjoining room of a dozen cots. The bath attended mummy-wrapped me in a sheet and covered me in a blanket to sweat out toxins for half an hour. She placed a cool washcloth over my forehead eyes. I snoozed.
Afterwards, I felt clean down to the bottom of my pores. As I walked out the door, colors were brighter, sounds were crisper, and smells more fragrant, as if my air filters had been de-smogged.
My April-May-June gardening toenails were clean.
In the spring and early summer, I make my excuse to the masseuse every week. “I’ve got gardening feet this week.”
She says that most of her Vermont clients have gardening feet in the spring and summer. It’s just part of the landscape. But women from the nearby city do not. They are much more conscious of their image.
And the point of being image-conscious is...? What? So other women won’t judge us? So we won’t judge ourselves? Or is it that we judge others and then don’t want them to say the mean things about us that we mentally say about them?
If we practice kindness, our self-judging recedes. And when self-judging fades, so does the judging of other people.
Maybe city women prefer clean feet to gardening feet. Who’s to say?