Saturday, September 6, 2008

Gully: Harbin Hot Springs Cold Plunge

Tucked in a small gully in a small valley in northern California, the Harbin cold plunge complements and makes cool what happens in the hot pool. Right up in the woods and very beautifully situated, about 8 people can go into the Harbin cold plunge at any one time. Harbin usually puts fresh flowers at two places around it. The cold plunge is filled by a pipe from the upper side, and some people drink this fresh water. There's forest and hillside all around the cold plunge, - you're right in nature here, in a very quiet and beautiful corner of the world, doing something very regenerative.

You walk up wooden steps, from right outside the hot pool room, and near the warm pool, to get to it. The wooden steps can only really accommodate one person. Sometimes people passing the wind chimes at the top of the stairs push them to make a sound. There are two benches where people can lie or sit on the platform outside the cold plunge. There's a 2 foot high statue of Kwan Lin in front of one of the benches, and a very well-used foot-in-diameter black mortar, but no pestel. Kwan Lin usually has a some flowers, and colorful rocks line the stone wall here, - these become vivid when wet. The railing into the cold plunge is a beautiful arc of metal work made by the same sculptor that made the Dragon Gate and the hot plunge railing. While a sign says "Quiet Area," most people usually do not talk here.

I'm curious why the experience of going into the cold plunge, especially after the hot plunge, brings out everything from a smile to bliss in me quite frequently, just on a biological level.

Walking by the warm pool toward the hot pool and cold plunge is like going into a tropical forest in the high summer. The broad, richly green leaves of the Fig tree over the warm pool with the flora to the left of this path makes a kind of tunnel that is really forest like. It's a delight and makes me wonder whether we have kinds of ancestral memories of this encoded in DNA, or whether it just reminds me of Malaysia or India.

No comments: