I’ve been lucky to have stayed with great people during my journey. I suppose to say “I’ve been lucky” is false, for most everyone who belongs to the WarmShowers network is an understanding, sympathetic, and generous host, often going beyond what any rational person’s expectations of kindness and hospitality might be. One might think that after experiencing such fantastic hospitality at host’s place after host’s place that I would have adjusted my expectations accordingly, but I never do; it always yields such sweet surprises to expect so little and receive so much. I would imagine too it would be more difficult to play the gracious, thankful guest if I just assumed so much to be normal behavior.
I’m currently writing this at Ten Thousand Waves, and I am sitting here outside, in a lounge chair by the communal bath: a hot water pool with a cold one next to it separated by a low wall which one might hop or slide over from one to the other. After sitting in the hot water bath for ten minutes, maybe longer, getting nice and cooked (and very relaxed), taking a dip in the cold water bath is marvelously refreshing. It’s a frightful shock as well, and wonderfully stimulating, especially if one sits for about an equal amount of time as one had sat in the hot water pool. Most people don’t do this however, and spend little more than fifteen or twenty seconds partly submerged in the chill of the cold water. These persons’ experience of the baths is resultantly hollow and lacking by comparison. Unfortunate for them, I guess. But this strikes me as so typical of the 20th/21st century (and other centuries too, but I wasn’t quite alive then so can’t comment, or I could, but then this would turn into some sort of long essay about the aristocracy of centuries past, and how as we’ve moved into the twentieth that aristocracy developed into the rich, upper class which the ever growing middle class wished (and wishes still!) to emulate, and then there’s the whole “keeping up with the Joneses” thing, and yadda yadda yadda), developed nation attitude. So many of these people want all the comfort, warmth, and luxury available to them, but don’t want the slightest bit of discomfort to get in the way of that. They want to be coddled, and wrapped in silk undies and lingerie, and sleep on their thousand thread-count sheets with their 900-fill down duvet. Life to them, I should think, is accordingly felt less acutely. It is a thin attenuation, and no matter the width of their televisions, the suppleness of their automobile’s suspension, or the loft of their pillows they lie their heads on, nothing can broaden that stripe. The easier one’s life becomes the more one expects it to be so, and the harder it is to willingly insert hardship or difficulty into it.
Anyway, the spa is located up in the mountains, a few hundred feet higher in elevation than Santa Fe proper. Lounging in the pool one’s view is an assemblage of Piñon Pines, Cottonwoods, Maples and Oaks which grow just beyond the boundaries of the property. Up above, nothing but a big, mottled, blue and white sky, the white bits mutating, always in flux, changing shape, drifting by lazily like manta rays in the sea, or aspen pollen in the mountains. The experience is one of complete luxury. I’ve never experienced it before and I suspect it will be some time before I do so again.