During my summer vacation last year (2010), I was feeling lonely and unlovely. I needed something that would soothe my soul, lift my spirits and remind me of the beauty of being a woman. I found it in a rose bath at a luxury onsen resort high in the mountains above Kobe, Japan.
“I began to see the distinct and special features of each rose as true representations of how I see and feel about the lady loved ones in my life.”
As the only Caucasian to enter the warm and fragrant waters of the indoor bath blanketed with rose blossoms of every imaginable kind, my sense of loneliness was heightened. I was certain there was no chance of a casual conversation or possibility of meeting a new friend. With a heavy sigh, I sank into the perfumed pool and soaked in silence while observing all the interactions going on around me.
Each one of these blossoms was so unique and distinct in style, color, texture, condition and fragrance. I wished that they were all my girlfriends and female family members who had come along to keep me company. Surrounded by all the sensuousness and softness of these friendly flowers, my awareness and self-esteem were nudged upward. The more I watched them move about the surface of the water, I began to see the distinct and special features of each one as true representations of how I see and feel about the lady loved ones in my life. I could feel a revival of my sense of belonging to a community of sharing women. Even this one, where friendship and camaraderie couldn’t be communicated using spoken words. So, I nodded and smiled and carried on an imaginary participation by recognizing that my real friends — the ones that soothe my soul, lift my spirits and remind me of the beauty of being a woman — WERE all around me! They were simply the roses by many other names.
Bounding across the water came Sabrina in her robust salmon-colored bodice, with petals spread wide as she bumped into, and connected with the other water flowers on her way. She quickly became engaged in a bouncy dance with some of them as they bonded in place and rode the waves that rolled by under them.
It wasn’t long before I spotted Sonya as she elegantly floated by breathing in the spirit of the aromatic aqua. Wearing the deepest of reds from tip to stem, she artfully swayed around creating an iconic presence wherever she went.
Leading a couple of smaller buds to a nearby waterfall was Delores. With her many petals of pure white so solid and tightly arranged, her followers easily and enduringly stuck close to her bright light. Every so often she would tilt or bob showing a layer of her petals that were gently tinted in the rich pink hues of a twilight sky.
Approaching rapidly was Vanessa all decked out in ruffles of purple with sparkling droplets of water decorating her curled petals as she sashayed through the crowded tub. Strong and striking, she seemed determined to stay afloat and keep moving, but often and sometimes abruptly changing directions.
Leaning up against the steps was Michelle. Laying back in her peach wrap, perfectly content to hang out right where she was. However, when I swished some water toward her perch, she willingly lifted herself off the stair to just go with the flow.
Amid a group of waterlogged regulars I noticed Becky. No one could miss this bright yellow bud cheerfully sending out warm wafts of sweetness as she floated to and fro.
Sailing in from the far horizon of the bath, dear Daniele stayed on a straightforward course until her pretty, yet unpretentious pink petals touched the side wall where she seemed to find her moorings.
And just in front of me, I watched an island bouquet form around Kathleen as she stood still and centered while she soaked up the light that was the radiance of her deep goldenrod glow.