I’m already in, despite shivering uncontrollably just seconds ago. Now I’m at the goosebump stage nestled down into the center of the hot tub, down in the hole, transitioning into physical bliss. The Bearded One sticks his toe in. “Aiii–chee-waa-waa!” He says this every time he gets in.
The house has no bathtub, nor any great place for one, so when we bought this cabin in 2006, we budgeted in a hot tub at the recommendation of other fifty-somethings we know, and now we hot tub every night. It’s like seeing Mount Rainier on the rare clear day — I’m startled every single time. Over the top.
It’s our major medical plan. Maybe this is an old person thing, but I don’t think so. Our nurse daughter hot tubs first thing when she gets here at 9am after three 12-hour night shifts.
The Bearded One is growling and stepping further into the 103F degree water. Steam fills my nostrils and I relax. I let my body float up to the surface and notice the bright reflection of the moon.
It’s just after 6pm now, and sundown still smudges the western sky pink. Venus glows right next to the gibbous half-moon in the east and I sigh and move to the Ecsta-seat so the Bearded One can have the hole. Once we’re both in, we are quiet for a while. And for the very first time, I can feel spring coming.
Even though I sounded chipper when I delivered the Tupperwares of chicken soup and berry pie to a sick Momma Goose up the road just an hour ago –“We’re halfway through January!” — I didn’t feel springy then. As I told the Bearded One when I got back, she’s been sick for weeks and on an antibiotic now for days.
Two of her young geese had waddled by honking and Momma Goose directed my attention to all of the goose poop near her back porch. “They’re lost without Bob and Lucy,” Momma Goose told me from her doorway, her nose red, clutching the Tupperwared soup. She went on to tell of how Bob the Goose was hit by the UPS truck just before Christmas, and how since then Lucy had just disappeared. Gone.
“Geese mate for life,” Momma Goose said and shook her head at the consequences of that vulnerability.
“Is she dead?” I asked.
“Who knows?” Momma Goose had no idea. “She’s moved on. Her 2-year-olds are left here.”
I hear them honking now, high-pitched honking yelps, as evening sets in and I float in the glow of the goddess Venus. All my goosebumps have melted, soft and flat. The Bearded One and I just listen.
The Bearded One has warmed up now, too, and tells of having heard a flock of geese earlier. He saw them fly over the farmlet in a vivid “V”.
He was out hauling meat bird compost down from the coops in a wheelbarrow to the hoop house and gardens. It’s so dusky now the soil where he worked looks almost black. It is without any bad smell at all. The poop has completely composted in the sphagnum peat moss flooring of their coop. It’s so crumbly and fertile, I want to smell it. This is a good sign.
I tell him about Bob the Goose’s death and the lost young geese, and how Momma Goose is still so sick. I tell him about our friends in Tasmania, Australia, who have been hearing about all the flu in the Northern Hemisphere and fear the “lurgy” coming their way mid-June during winter.
The hens all start cackling to each other in the closed, lighted coop up the hill, and the Bearded One tells me that he is still running the hose down the new rat hole discovered late last week in the aviary. He learned from last year that you have to just keep the water slowly running for a week. “Rats won’t discourage easily,” he says.
Then the hot tub jets turn on. They do this automatically after ten minutes, and that’s about when we are ready to head back inside.
I get out first, dry off and slip into my robe and flops. The Bearded One follows and I stand by, staring up at the stunningly bright Venus. I’m not even chilled.
“Brrr!” says the Bearded One as the wind blasts him butt-naked on the top step as he reaches for the towel. “Gonna catch me some lurgy.”