Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Back in 2001, when I was attending college for my art degree, we made a book in one of my classes. Little did I know then that the title of that book would inspire me with my blog but that is where the title "Working the Earth" originally came from and has continued to this day. The book was made with blank pages interspersed here and there so that I could add on at any time. I have continued to be inspired in this vein.
Willow, of Willow Manor, wrote today about how her bathtub invokes thoughts. I always thought that I was a little crazy because I really love my bathtub and hardly ever take a shower. For me, the bathtub has always been a place that invokes deep thinking. Just like Willow. Thank you Willow, for writing about this and helping me to see that I am not crazy, weird, or even alone in this. My bathtub has always been a sanctuary for me; a place that I can go and relax and work things out. I fill the tub up with bubbles and light candles. Ahhh-----peace!
I stare out the window when I am in my bathtub, seeing faces in the trees just as Willow sees faces in her candle. I have even sat in my tub at times with pencil and paper and drawn the faces that I see peering back at me. Sometimes there are scary faces, sometimes there are laughing faces. I have even seen American Indian Chiefs out there in the trees. I guess this is what being an artist is: seeing things or imagining from things that we see.
Here is an image from the book that I did regarding my bathtub. At the time, my daughter had just gone through open-heart surgery and there were a few moments (days) there that we weren't sure what her prognosis was. Would she have brain damage? Would she even remember how to add and subtract again? Would she have a long life and be able to have children? Would she even survive? She was only 21 when she collapsed while practicing for track and field. We later found out that she had an anomaly and a very rare condition for which there were only 100 reported cases and very few surgeries ever performed for her condition. It was diagnosed as Sudden Death in Athlete Syndrome and was usually caught when they did the autopsy! We were lucky...she survived and has gone on to be married and have a wonderful daughter who will be turning 5 in May. -------At that time in my life, my bathtub was the place that I retreated to each night to work things out. Friends were fairly absent during this time in my life. I had no one close-by to hold my hand and listen to my sadness except my family. And my bathtub! My bathtub helped me work through these things.
Here is a poem from my book. The poem is titled "Time to Let Go". In case the function doesn't work that allows you to maximize, here is the poem for you.

I lie in my tub.
Warm water and lavender bubbles seep slowly
Into every pore.
Sky is dark.
Sweet smell of candles in the air.
Clock on the wall
Is ticking.
My thoughts turn inward.
Are you doing well
Without me?
Are you safe?
I should be there with you.
You are alone.
My tub cannot wash the pain away.
Yet, months are carried upward by
The hot wax of the burning candles.
Alone, now, I can only hope that time
Will heal you.
My worries swirl down the drain of the tub.
My thoughts float on the pool of hot wax.
Tick, tock.
Tick, tock.

My bathtub continues to be my place of solace. I retreat there sometimes more than once a day when I need to relax, when I can't fall asleep, when I want to think through things that are bothering me, when I want to be inspired. Something about the calming effect of the water is always there to soothe me. Willow: we are tub sisters, you and I. Next time you are there, send a thought my way. I just might receive it or see it in the trees.


  1. A clawfoot tub is one thing this old house does not have (oh, and a furnace, haha) but that I would LOVE. Remind me sometime to tell you about the dream tub I built in one of my lofts in Providence...maybe I'll blog about it...I love a nice tub!

  2. so you are a fellow bath tub lover-- I just came from my bath-- a jacuzzi bubble filled hot bath in which I read, think and just lay back and let the bubbles and hotness soak in.. love the poem

  3. Yes--love the tub. And, yes, Melanie, it is a claw foot tub. Old yet oh so comfy. Those old claw foot tubs just hug your body just right. I, too, read in mine. They are just the best, right?

  4. Ahh...I knew we were kindred spirits!


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