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MARION MCNABB
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Ode To An Outdoor Shower

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Here I sit lapping up those lazy, hazy dog days of summer, feeling unclean as sweat gently drips into my unpleasant creases and my energy to do anything more than turn the page of my salacious beach read is at an all-time low. But oh how I plead with the clock to slow down its ticking. Let me languish here in all this humid glory! I’m begging! For when the bell tolls and I must return from my island oasis to urban reality that one marvel of modern engineering – the greatest invention ever made – will be placed on stand-by until late next spring. I am of course talking about the wondrous outdoor shower. Have you ever enjoyed one? It is a life-affirming experience, at once scintillating, sensual and serene. Why? What is the big deal? I ponder…

All I can say is standing there under the no frills spout with my head tilted back and hot water draping my sun-kissed skin is just about the closest to heaven as I could imagine. With my eyes half open I scan the massive oak trees overhead and the sun weaves its way through the leaves casting me in shapely shadows and flattering light. I soap up my loofah and the scent of lavender mixes with my salty skin and the wet wood. I rub the stubborn sand off my feet, eventually giving up on being able to wash it all away. I hear the tussling up in the tree branch above my head and there sits a red cardinal, studying me. We look at one another. Caught in a precious minute in time.

There are moments in life we never forget. Some we savor and others imprint on us in less positive ways. And this is that moment when all is right… I feel good. No, great. Everything is as it should be. My family is happy and healthy and ok. Those around me are satisfied. Birds are chirping. The wind is rustling trees and those branches are swaying. I close my eyes and let the water fall all over me, feeling this moment and holding it tight. Don’t go… I think. Don’t leave precious moment of happiness. When will the other shoe drop…? Wait…what? Don’t go?! Why am I bringing that idea into my head – don’t go?! Don’t go. This season will fold over and change into another beautiful season – that will always be true. And the harder, harsher truth of lives moving forward, then onward, is true as well. I won’t always be here. My parents, the cardinal, my friends, gulp – my children, will not always be here and that’s just a simple, natural fact. That’s the kind of thing to accept – not to try to change, right? So why let that niggling little thought enter into the serenity of what was right there in my grasp – literal peace on Earth. And so… I let it go. And I came back to the hot, sticky summer I’m smack dab in the middle of and I tilted my head back and made the water just a tad cooler. The cardinal flew away. The leaves in the trees continued to rustle. And I closed my eyes and felt ever bit of the glory of that moment – and I’ll always have that.

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