Saturday, December 29, 2007
Stones and a Spa for Winter
I've just come back from looking at the proofs of my French Republican calendar (you can order it from me at my website store) and I'm thrilled by its beauty. I had a lot of fun creating the calendar grids and embellishing them with colors and fonts. Plus the photographs taken by my friend, Christine Valters Paintner, are incredible.
One of the things I love about the calendar are the seasonal items associated with each day of the year. Usually these are plants, trees, vegetables and fruits, but in Nivose (the month which covers December/January) the items are mostly all minerals, and I was wondering how I was going to honor these items. Then my friend, Elizabeth, suggested a trip to the Korean spa in Lynnwood for the day after Christmas and lo and behold, they have various mineral rooms as part of their offerings.
Hanging out in hot water is one of my very favorite things, and doing that in a luxurious atmosphere, where I could dip in and out of various bubbling pools, and alternate that with visits to a steam room and a sauna was a perfect indulgence for the day after Christmas. The Korean spa also has a cafe, a lounge, body scrubs, massages, pedicures and manicures and other delights I didn't sample.
But we did try the various rooms: a sand room, a charcoal room and a meditation room lined with elvan stone (which is apparently harvested from the bottom of the ocean surrounding Korea). Each of these minerals is supposed to have a different effect on the body and it was interesting to compare the results. I loved the sand room; it reminded me of happy afternoons spent on Southern California beaches and it made me feel sparkly and alive. Neither of us liked the charcoal room much; it felt rather dull and lifeless to me. Elizabeth loved the meditation room and so did the other women who were in it (they had all fallen asleep as far as I could tell). It amplified my (dehydration?) headache and actually gave me a backache which persisted for a day afterwards. I wonder if it magnifies physical symptoms that are already present.
I like knowing that I can go back to the spa when I want to experience certain minerals that will show up in the December calendar. We went on the day associated with lava. I think a hot tub and a stone room are as close as I will get to lava on December 26.
Christmas this year was the day of the dog, and I finished reading Mark Doty's beautiful and brilliant memoir about his life with dogs, Dog Years, on that day. It's exquisite. Sad, profound, uplifting. It will without doubt make my top ten list for the year. It might even be the best book I've read all year.
The photograph above was taken by Mylene Bressan and can be found at