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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« beachcombing, part one | Main | whales and hot springs »


Jeff and I woke early this morning to the sound of the fog horn on a nearby island, through the mist. Reminded me of the Ray Bradbury story, "The Foghorn". I couldn't help but notice that the fog horn notes were a major third apart, and wondered if this was intentional. Can the people who manage fog horns change this interval? I'm serious, I must know.

Called my dad this morning to wish him a happy birthday...he turns 70 today!

Oatmeal and almond pancakes for breakfast, with banana compote on top. Yum! At 10:30 a.m., I wandered down to the Ancient Cedars Spa for my Hot Stones Massage.

I had Angela, the woman who had given me my Reflexology treatment several days ago. Angela seemed a bit stressed out; I think she could have used a few spa treatments herself. She also seemed to have mixed me up with another client.

"I remember how much you enjoyed the steam room that last time," she said. "Why don't you have another one before we start?" I was somewhat confused, having never tried the steam room. We went through the usual choose-a-scent ritual, which she called "starting your sensory journey". This time I chose something with lime and orange.

After my heated footsoak, Angela took me to the treatment room, where I lay on my back beneath a SPT (strategically placed towel). She explained the chakra points to me, where she would be placing some of the rocks, which were apparently linked to some kind of mystical spiritual centre blablabla. Uh oh, I thought.

I confess that my biggest challenge during her intro speech was not laughing, especially when she seriously told me about the "chakra third eye" on my forehead. She also told me that some people experienced a new level of spiritual awareness during the hot stone massage. Some saw colours. Some experienced emotional release. She encouraged me to feel safe to embark on my own spiritual journey. Angela was excited to hear I was a writer...perhaps I would journey with some of the characters in my books, she said.

By this time, I had resigned myself to a two-hour spiritual sermon with a hot stone thrown in here and there. Angela was very sweet and well-meaning, I'm sure, but I wished that the spa brochure had included some kind of warning about all the mystical talk. I was looking for a relaxing massage, not a third eye.

To my relief, however, Angela fell silent as she began the treatment. After, placing a warm towel over my eyes, she placed hot rocks (heated in a turkey roaster in the corner of the room) beneath my back, cushioned by a towel. A warm rock went beneath each of my hands, and even between each of my toes. She walked around the table, clacking rocks in her hands, then placed a warm towel on my belly, more rocks on that. Then she poured hot scented oil along my arms and legs, and massaged them with hot rocks in long strokes.

Wow, what an incredible sensation. the spots of heat sliding up and down my body. Sometimes she would add extra pressure, or twist the rocks a bit. I had tensed at first, expecting some pain, but relaxed when I realized that Angela's pressure was carefully-regulated.

The only time I did experience pain was when she massaged my neck with hot stones. I had told her that I had some neck soreness, which is probably why she concentrated on that area. I cringed as I felt the oily rocks hit tight tendons as she pushed them repeated from my shoulder to neck. I was about to yell at her stop when I realized that the tightness was gradually fading, the knots disappearing. Then I dozed off. She might have done other stuff at this point, but I'm afraid things got pretty fuzzy from this point, or at least until she asked me to turn over.

After I turned to lie on my stomach, she placed newly-warmed rocks on my upturned palms and soles of my feet. More oil and massage with hot rocks, all over my body. The last thing she massaged were my hands and feet...she must have been using several somewhat angular stones, because it felt as if an elf were walking over my hands and feet on stilts made from hot rocks. It felt REALLY neat, hard to describe.

Then she spritzed some scented water beneath my face, murmuring something about the scent of rose bringing me love (since I was only half-conscious by then, I may be misremembering), and told me that she was finished. By the time I staggered out of the room for some water, I felt like a piece of cooked chicken. Happily cooked chicken, that is.

"Did you journey afar?" Angela asked me as she handed me my glass of lemon water out in the waiting lounge. I smiled and sipped my water, not trusting myself to say anything. Fortunately she seemed to be satisfied, and said good-bye before heading off.

I decided to try the steam room this time. I had hesitated before because of my bad eyesight without my glasses, and because I wasn't sure if I was keen on sitting in a small steamy room with a bunch of strangers who might want to smalltalk. The room was empty, however, so I wrapped some towels around me and sat on a bench. It was WONDERFUL, inhaling the eucalyptus-scented steam and leaning back on the cedar benches. If I had any atom of stress left in me (which I didn't), it would have melted out of me right then.

Only one more day at the Wickaninnish, and then Jeff and I are off to Japan!!

Today's Blatherpics

- Photo that Jeff took of my feet and their reflection on the beach.

- Tea rose soap in our room.

- Sign in front of the sushi restaurant where Jeff and I ate last night. It was pretty good for a place only open three months.

- Jeff at breakfast.

- This photo was taken during an evening walk on the beach, during low tide.

Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

Today's Poll:

Do you like sushi?

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