Friday, October 24, 2014

The dark side of sauna

I love looking at old photos people post on Facebook—they remind me of warm and funny memories from my own experience. A different warm memory occurred in our sauna last week—the electric light burned out. I’ve gotten so used to simply using the on-off switch that I forgot what a ‘no-light’ sauna was like. Fortunately it didn’t happen while we were inside.

The fix was more complicated and took much longer than expected, so for a couple of weeks we took saunas by candlelight (metal flashlights get hot).

It was a reminder of my own ‘olden days.’ The sauna on the beach had no windows, so we’d bring a lantern. Even so, it was very dark inside the sauna chamber. I learned to move slower, let my eyes adjust, steer clear of the stove and climb quickly to the upper bench. The soap or buckets were placed in the same places—easy to find in the inky dark.

In our no-light sauna, sauna preparations took much longer—bucket and dipper here, towels and drinking water there, where we could find them by feel. Remember to open the air vent. How long would our votive candles last? Where should they be placed? When I dropped something, it stayed there until the next day. Even walking to our patio for cool-down was trickier, finding my slip-ons against the dark floor, the door handle not where my hand reached.

After much struggle, Bill, my hero, got the old bulb removed and replaced the socket. Last night—I flipped the switch and voila, there was light! Remembering saunas in the dark was useful, but thank you electricity!