Rub a Dubdub, I Live in the Tub

I Live in the Tub Now

Snow fell overnight
Stifling Spring’s first words,
So eagerly anticipated this year.
          Though aren’t they always?

No matter.

This bag of bones lets lose
Within the fluid caress of a warm tub.
          Water, fire, salt, 
                 smoke, heat, paper

And all this…drifts away.

Rising with the 

April is National Poetry month.  In honor of that designation I am sharing this piece that I wrote the first week of the month.  Snow seems rather far gone from a day like today.  It has been 65-70 degrees this week sending me barefoot into the garden yesterday.  Just a couple weeks ago it was a markedly different situation.  Montana's spring is so dynamic.
The snow that inspired the poem. Also:  I rehung the Christmas lights on the porch. They make me happy. As it happens, I think we’ve gotten as much snow this Spring as we did during the actual Christmas season so that’s been a bonus. Christmas lights make me happy, but add in some snow and I’m overjoyed. So pretty. 
Plus—and I can only speak for myself—I am a little lost in time.  Sometimes it seems to be whipping past so rapidly that it is surreal.  Other times, by the end of the day, the morning feels so long ago it must have surely been yesterday.  It is quite the phenomenon—makes me think of the song “Time,” by Elephant Revival—and the gym, as I already mentioned.  Time is a fluid, like my bath water embrace.
My friend, Chelsey, dropped off some paper hearts to decorate our windows. Matt and I created these together. The one on the right is a sun with rays in the blue sky, though quite abstract. They’re quite a cheerful addition. 
April will soon be over.  I’ve been “at home” for six weeks today.  The grape hyacinths are blooming.  Ginger prowls the garden once again.  Easter came and went quietly.  Matt’s brothers and my dad all got a year older.  Next month is my birthday…and most folks who know me are also familiar with how much I love to celebrate the whole month long.  It is tricky contemplating a month out from now.  So much has changed in the past month.  Who knows what the next will bring?!
Matt photobombing the full moon. 
Montana is starting phase one of “re-opening” this Saturday since we’re coping, as a state.  Our hospitalization rates are low, our infection rates are low.  I hope our baby steps go well, one phase to the next.  Concerts and gatherings over 50 people aren’t on the table for a long while yet though, as part of phase three.
Our fierce door guard. 
On a personal level, I hope to feel ready to be with people again soon.  I can’t imagine being comfortable going to a big concert, say, or to one of our tie-dye craft shows right now.  Shoulder to shoulder with the masses.  That’s possibly the thing that bums me out the most about how the pandemic has changed me. I loathe how this virus has made me feel about other humans, like they’re all potential bombs ready to go off.  To be watched and/or handled cautiously.  That isn’t my style.  I’m usually the opposite of a germaphobe.
I colored for hours one Saturday.  With cats bookending me the whole while. I’ve also been writing, sewing, and making shrinkeedinks. 
I want to get back there…and I know I will, to a great extent.  Nevertheless I also have to wonder…will I ever mindlessly shove my hand into a communal bag of chips at a potluck ever again?  I can remember the last person I hugged, not realizing at the time it would be the last for long while.  It was David Cleaves**.  He came over for a game of backyard bocce the week that the excrement hit the air conditioning on our local scene.  I wonder who the first will be…
I’ll take this opportunity to say that the Facebook group “Sewing with Cats” is one of the best things on FB.  I rarely post, but love the content. These are my people.  
Sometimes I still cannot believe this is my life.  That this is our life.  I like that this bath poem captures my personal response to chaos on a global level.  It is intimate, but framed within the context of the greater history we’re living through.  For some reason this pleases me.
The light we’re using now formerly decorated Matt’s childhood home. They’re the old-school big bulbs.  Those always make me think of my dad. 
It turns out that probably my most relied upon stress-uncertainty-sadness-boredom reducer throughout these past six weeks has been regularly taking the world’s hottest, longest baths.
Ginger still thinks this is the best thing to ever happen.
I crank up the hot water heater to the point where it starts warning of scalding danger—that’s critical.  It makes my tub into a pretty satisfactory approximation of a hot tub or hot spring.  After letting the water heater gear up for a few hours I light a few candles and some incense, maybe toss in some Epsom salts, and then I set up my kitchen stool as a side table with:
  • A book
  • A pitcher of water and plastic glass
  • A portable speaker
  • My iPod (for audiobooks)
  • The phoneputer (for music, largely)
  • A hand towel for dabbing my sweaty face and drying my hands when needed
  • The tea pot and cup (optional, depending on the time of day)
  • A beer (optional, depending on the time of day)
Wee bloomers spotted on one of our walks. They’re probably all of three inches tall. 
I rediscovered the bliss of baths last year.  It came about because I was gifted a bath bomb for Christmas 2018.  I put it with the Goodwill donations in the garage with the assumption that “I am not a bath person.”  Then I got to thinking about how much I dig hot springs and tubs, swimming, and water, in general, and thought... maybe I was a bath person and just didn’t know it.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken one…probably in my school days, still at home.
A Spring sunset. Not pictured:  the backyard campfire. 
And…it turns out that I am totally a bath person.

In my ordinary life I take a bath about once a week, never more than that.  It is typically part of my Monday morning since that’s the day I work 1-9pm at the library and so have the morning to myself at home.  These days it is more like three or four times a week.  It’s just like the Curry Feasts.  An increase in frequency was highly desirable, given the state of things.
Johnny has decided she loves this tri-tunnel. Naturally now Ginger, the most scardy Alpha cat ever, has now become fixated on it, too. Turf wars and startling catrocket launches on the regular. 
I can forget about the world and get lost in my stories.  I read an entire 197-page Newbery Award book in one go last week, cover to cover.  I read most of Stephen King’s The Stand in there, too.  I can refill my heartcup with hope and joy through song.  Clinton Fearon is my favorite bathtime jam, or the desert blues meditation album my mom gave me.  I draft poems, letters, and blog post ideas in my head.  I’ve even had a couple video chats with my sisters from the tub, when they happened to catch me there…which is bound to happen when around 6-10 hours a week are spent soaking.
My sisters. Sarah has been teaching in Barrow, AK the past two years. She was able to come home to Montana earlier than expected. She completed a 14-day quarantine at my grandparent’s farm. “I haven’t had a drop to drink during this whole quarantine.”  Lisa’s life has been altered the longest of our family as she lives in the Seattle area, which was hard hit early on in the American experience of the pandemic. “Snacks are the first thing to go.”
I can also make the bath my office, in a limited capacity.  I’ve fielded emails and taken in several pre-recorded webinars and online sessions (in which all I have to do is listen) from the tub.  Between webinars with cats-on-my-lap and those while soaking-in-the-tub….I don’t know how I am ever going to be able to tolerate such formats in my office at the library ever again.  The at-home version is so much more enjoyable.  Hands down.
Matt and I went down to the river last weekend to skip stones and watch birds. 
I’m actually going into the library for work today, the first time in six weeks.  I have a few books to mail off to student/faculty who need them for these last couple weeks of the semester.  I am also going to bring home a disgustingly large stack of magazines to barcode and add to our system.   This, I now realize, will mean that I’ve “gone out” a shocking three days this week.  For TP and tampons on Monday, to donate blood on Tuesday, and to the library for work today.   Wow.  Look at me go.  That’s more than in the past month combined****.

Maybe I’ll celebrate with a nice long soak today.
Ginger and me at the front window desk. It’s a good thing for her that I have to work using my phone most of the time. She’s kinda hogging the laptop space. 
**Excluding Matt, of course.  We’re so grateful that we enjoy each other so deeply and that our relationship abounds with common interests and hobbies.  We've been having a really good time together, despite restrictions.  I can’t imagine anyone else I’d prefer as my sole regular contact with a physical person.  Matt, I should mention, still has other folks at work to engage with, but he's it for me!

**** I still go outside plenty.  I just don’t go into buildings much anymore.  We have an awesome yard, front and back.  We cycle and walk—though we tend to avoid the trails around our house since they're pretty heavily trafficked. We drove 45 minutes out into the country to watch birds at a seasonal lake last weekend. I still get out plenty…just, you know, not where people are.
I’ve always been glad to live in Montana. All the more so right now. 


  1. Hi Beth,
    ...such a nice long catch up with you glad you're all well and happy...we are too...just riding this thing out...and looking forward to whatever is next...
    ~Have a lovely day!

    1. It sure has been a roller coaster these last couple of months, but overall I know that I have little to complain about. Riding it out, like you say, and finding the everyday blessings. I’m glad to hear you’re all hanging in there!!

      Have a wonderful spring day!!

  2. I love this post! Your baths are EPIC, and I'm glad you found such a source of comfort.

    1. I imagine that as the weather warms up I will spend less time in the bath and more time in the hammock, but it really has been fantastic these last two months!!

    2. And thanks, Margo. Glad you liked it!


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