Thursday, February 11, 2010
Illustration Friday: Muddy
My growing up was filled with trips to Soap Lake, Washington. Soap Lake is a wacky little town; rumor has it they'll soon have the world's largest lava lamp installed in the center of the tiny 'western themed' downtown.
I have so many stories centered in this town I could fill up books. I spent many weeks at a time there on my grandma's farm, that was just outside town (but still within walking distance of the delicious B&B Drive-In where my cousins and I would walk for a mid-afternoon snack of burgers and shakes ordered on telephones from the booth).
Soap Lake, the lake itself is rich in minerals , and is one of 11 meromictic lakes in the US. In the 30s, people flocked to Soap Lake as a cure for Buerger's disease. The water smells like rotten eggs, it is slimy, and there are weird brine shrimp that live in it. Swimming in it is not for the faint of heart or nose. But I grew up swimming there and loved it. I also loved the ritual mud baths my family and I would take every summer.
The mud at the bottom of the lake is black and clay like and smells worse than the water itself. But it is amazing stuff. As a teen, it once erased a pimple the size of a penny, it took the redness and sting out of many a sunburn, and made your whole body feel tingly and just good.
About 10 years ago, I took my final dip in the lake. After swimming halfway across, I pulled myself onto the dock to get ready for my annual mud bath. But - my hands were swollen and huge like Mickey Mouse's gloves, I was covered in hives and started to go into shock. Many months and a few tests later I found out I have Cold Induced Urticaria - which literally means I am allergic to cold temperatures. So, not more lake swimming for me, sadly. But maybe someday I'll wade in just up to my knees and get all muddy again. Here is a photo of the lake by Tiffany Withrow - it is really a beautiful and strange place -I miss it.