I like showers, hot steamy showers that relax the muscles. Soapy, exhilarating showers that melt away the world, leave the soul squeaky clean and urge my thoughts to dance and jump and spiral. I like that the shower beckons, calls me to step into its transformative chamber. I feel welcome to slip through the sleek, glass door, gaze out the large window on the adjacent wall, feel the other two walls, tiled, smooth, white, speckled with droplets destined to form rivulets and more.
There are 134 units in the condo complex where I live, each with at least two showers and one more for general use next to the work-out room. Water drains from them all into dark pipes clearly visible in the ceiling of the garage beneath the complex. There is a truth in this infrastructure, I realize. Drains and pipes work together, play a part in the social contract, conduits in the flow of shimmering droplets that stream and sluice and join with other droplets, human droplets streaming, flowing into still larger pipes and mains that travel under the surface.
I like the ideas that lather and foam in my shower, the thoughts that in mid-frolic sparkle with their new-found power to unscramble, to chorus “Aha!” and strip away the murk. I like showers, long luxurious showers that offer up crystalline strategies and solutions. Revelations about what bubbles beneath and requires attention.
Too often, the shower’s Eureka moments are fleeting, disappearing down the drains. Clear, clog-free drains that want to carry bright revelations away with the gray water and create confluences of the lost thoughts and solutions. All revealed now merging, swimming out further and further, reaching even beyond the treatment plant to the sea. Fragments of potential, lost and found, deposited like salt and sand in a restless ocean.
One morning, the shower’s steamy mist parted. I could see beyond the glass window, see myself in the distant past, walking head down in three different cities, keeping an eye on the path ahead, following an above-ground course, wondering what had always been hidden below.
I cupped my hands to hold the memories and meanings, capture the epiphany swirling, spilling, slipping down the drain. My feet moved as if by instinct to slow the flow, stem the sudsy water that continued to swirl through the small, circular grate. This time the thought was not carried away. What lies beneath, it wanted me to ask. Ask again the very question that I see now had coursed through me for decades and yet had remained unanswered.