LA was wonderful. My friends Matt and Paige were the perfect, loving hosts: Paige treating my head cold with copious amounts of essential oils, Matt the same old Matt I’ve loved since we lived down the hall from one another our first year at Beloit College. We hung out with the dogs, read some scripts (Matt’s a movie producer), had dinner with other Beloit friends, and mostly just relaxed.
On Saturday afternoon, we went downtown to Aroma, a spa in Koreatown, where I was scrubbed with a thoroughness that I probably haven’t experienced since I was a very small child. After a short soak in the hot tub, and a few minutes in the sauna, I wound up on a massage table with a Korean woman scrubbing every bit of dead skin off of me with abrasive mitts (think those green scrungy things you use in the kitchen). And when I say every bit of dead skin, I mean it … I was scrubbed from head to toe (between the toes too). I was scrubbed in places that one would not necessarily think one might need exfoliation. I was scrubbed on my front, on my back, and on my sides. Then I was rubbed down, sent out for a shower, tenderly dried off, fed a glass of water, and put back on the table where I was slathered with very herbal oils, a facial mask, had my scalp scrubbed with what felt like a curry comb, and then was given perhaps the most energetic massage of my life. It was all slightly terrifying but ultimately great — and in many ways felt like a metaphor for this whole bereavement experience. Because of the language barrier, I really had no idea from moment to moment what was going to happen on that massage table (a slippery wet massage table no less) and so I had two choices — I could either resist and try to control the situation, or I could just go with it, regardless of the fact that a strange woman was gently scrubbing my breasts with an abrasive glove. So I went with it, and it was, ultimately, a good experience … strange, but good.
So, now I’m home, and back in the thick of closing up Patrick’s affairs, which continues to be not so much fun. It’s good to be home — It was great to get a break, but it’s quite wonderful to have a loving community of friends to come home to. And I did miss the dogs, and actually wound up sort of weepy Sunday night when I got home too late to pick them up from the kennel. My sorrow was abated however, when I saw the joy with which the cat greeted my dogless arrival. So, all is relatively well here on the steppes of Montana — the weather has warmed up some, but the famous Livingston winds have begun — the dog park was like a Buster Keaton movie yesterday. This weekend, if the weather holds, I have to get out and pull all the poor frozen greens out of the garden. While kale improves with a frost, two weeks of sub-freezing weather leaves one with just a pile of dead brown plants. The freeze hit so suddenly that the garden is full of dead plants caught at the end of bloom — cosmos, lettuce, kale and the poor brussel sprout that never did get a chance to send up its spike.