city flower

January comes and suddenly I have the urge to soak myself in a hot tub. The impulse usually only lasts for a few weeks and the total number of baths that I take in a given year never totals more than a few. But it's that hopeful time of year again and baths have been on my mind, and here are my thoughts, in no particular order:

1. Epsom salt baths: When I was 17---on the night of graduation from high school---I found myself at one of those mandatory parties that schools throw in order to keep young graduates safe. There was a psychic. Or maybe she was a fortune teller. Whatever the case, she was someone making vague claims of mystical powers and I sat and listened to her. I don't remember a word of anything she said to me about my bright future, but I do remember that she told me that I was someone who should take an epsom salt bath at least once a week. I've never been prone to sports-related injury (a lack of sports playing improves those odds) so I can only imagine she sensed in me a propensity for stressful thinking and thought a good soak would help me. I've been thinking about her advice ever since, but it wasn't until this past weekend that I actually endeavored to buy one of those strange milk carton-shaped containers of salt and have myself a soak. It's looking like that total number of baths I take might increase in 2013. This watery soul is hooked.

2. Clean tubs: I recently asked my mom how often she cleaned our tub at home growing up. Her answer shocked me into realizing that it wasn't through bad luck or particular misfortune that my tub always looked grimy (though I'm tempted to blame city pipes and mineral deposits). My tub looks grimy mainly due to my persistant resistance to scrubbing it as often as I should. Clean tubs require elbow grease.

3. There are no bad baths, only bad bathtubs: And bad tubs don't matter so very much. Ours is installed backward. The drain is at the opposite end from the shower head and if you take a bath, the slope of the tub leans the back of your reclining head precisely into the faucet. This doesn't matter. I crane my neck to one side and slide on down anyway. The water feels just as good at an angle.

4. Bringing my camera into the tub elicited a series of panicked jokes from my husband about things "going down the drain." That's okay. I needed to photograph my own toes in order to get across the point of all of this blathering which is that if you have a tub, try a good soak. It might surprise you.

5. Candles. Light them.