terça-feira, 19 de março de 2019

• Sauna

At first I didn’t like it. But now I miss it.

My very first time was a bit traumatic. My body got confused with the sudden temperature changes and started to malfunction. And I even ended up in an hospital some 24 hours after my first sauna night on a family friend’s home.

The other sauna sessions that followed that first one were more normal. But still it was not so enjoyable to me as it is for all those that are used to saunas since they were born.

I hate the summertime weather in my country. I’m used to say that I was not “designed” to stand the hot temperatures we experience here in Lisbon during August. So why I would enjoy being locked in a wooden cabin full of hot steam, up to 90°C???…

Yet, nowadays I miss it… And the quite poetic text that I will quote next helped me to understand why I miss it. Here goes:

“Imagine a summer evening after a very long and very dark winter. Imagine it was tough but you survived.

Imagine a lake and a forest. The wind is very gentle and you can sense a smell of pine trees. The sun is low. A bird lands on the water and the rocks echo its sound.

Imagine a small wooden sauna by the lake and smoke coming from the chimney blurring the contours of the opposite shore.
Imagine the silence.

The S I L E N C E.

Imagine there is no need to pursuit anything, to play any role, to try to convince anyone of your excellence; no need to be beautiful or sexy or fit or young; no need to charm anyone with your intelligence or your competence or your wit. You can leave all this behind when you take off your clothes.

Imagine all you have to do is to be yourself.

Imagine how free that makes you feel.

Imagine sitting on the wooden bench of the sauna; imagine the dusk; imagine the gentle sounds of fire and of mixing hot water with cold water from the lake.

Imagine there are no machines; all that you do you do with your own hands.

Imagine the old wooden walls around you and all the old stories they have witnessed: babies who have been born there; brides that have been washed by their friends as part of their wedding rituals; old people whose loved ones have washed their bodies for their last journey. 

Imagine that all of it has been slow and meaningful. 

Imagine people crying for someone they lost or dreaming of someone very special. 

Imagine it’s all still there in that little sacred space.

Imagine that the Universe is all around you and you are part of it and you belong to it.

Imagine sharing the experience with other people who come as they are, just like you, no matter how they look like.

Imagine thinking that the old women who have given birth to four children are beautiful in a very special way.

Imagine the joy of kids who swim in the lake until they are so cold that their teeth clatter but who still want to keep swimming and laughing and playing.

Imagine going out on the veranda and letting the breeze refresh you. Imagine feeling the pure smell of the lake.

Imagine that nobody cares what you look like.

Imagine that nobody cares how much money you make or what your position in the society is or whom you are able to impress.

Imagine that what you share with other people in that small room is silence, a timeless moment of time, the mystical experience of being alive and human on this earth.

I don’t mind the health benefits or the good company. But you can’t really reduce the sauna experience to that kind of details.

Imagine sharing a moment between birth and death, being alive. Feeling alive.

That’s what I would say going to sauna is about, deep down.”

 - Katja Kaila
Finnish linguist, songwriter, feminist

Thanks, Katja. And I have to thank as well the beautiful selenite who was responsible to introduce me to sauna. Which I also miss.

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