Monday, July 06, 2015


circa 1976

from that first minnesota winter
cutting ten cords of wood
to keep the furnace going
in the house
as well as
the demands
from the outside sauna
     a log building that
     served as
     the only means for bathing
it became clear
that learning
survival skills
was always
in season

it took almost an hour
from below zero
for a blazing wood stove
& makeshift water heater
to really get things going

clothes hooks
in the 'changing room'
were still cold
as we peeled off everything
& darted into the 'heat room'
& the steam of splashing water
on stones & stove

hot & cold water were mixed
with buckets to get
the temp just right
& then on to a quick
soaping & rinsing
while the heat flashed & soaked
through your body
like a purging
bringing you through
a first real sweat
     & renewal

--- e b bortz

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