I read somewhere that washing your hair in rain water is a heavenly experience, and that your hair will feel beautifully silky soft and smooth.
Well, I thought that sounded like something I needed to try. But I kept forgetting to get a bucket out when it rained.
But yesterday, I remembered. It had been raining hard for about five minutes, and suddenly I remembered. I ran downstairs into the basement, looking for a bucket. There was one over by my husband's work bench, filled with some cleaning supplies. I dumped them out, ran upstairs, and shoved the bucket out on the deck. Voila!
It was really pouring.
When the rain stopped, I went out to gather up my rainwater, and I noticed two things.
Number one. I only had a half inch of water. What?! I needed a whole bucketful. (Seriously? Did I really think we were going to get 20 inches of rain?! A flood of Biblical proportions?!)
Well, maybe I could do just a quick final rinse with the half inch of water.
Number two. I had neglected to rinse out the bucket, and there was a layer of dust floating on top of the water.
So I had a half inch of dusty rain water to wash my hair with.
But that's not the end of the story . . .
We had another heavy shower, and I got up to a total of one inch of water. (I googled yesterday's rainfall, and a neighboring town of ours got 4.57 inches of water!!)
And the dust did settle to the bottom of the bucket.
So, in the spirit of true investigative journalism, I decided to go ahead and try a rainwater rinse this morning.
I washed my hair in the sink with regular tap water, put on conditioner, and rinsed in tap water as well. (That one inch was not going to do the job.) Then, carefully, as if the rain water was expensive and rare (and it felt that way!), I poured it over my head, collecting it in a bowl underneath. Then used a cup to scoop water again and again out of the bowl to rinse my hair well.
Then I sat out on the deck, allowing the sun and light breeze to dry my hair. I tell you, it felt so luxurious and peaceful. I took a book out, but ended up closing my eyes and listening to bird song.
Where did Robert Redford get water to wash Meryl Streep's hair in Out of Africa? What did pioneer women do, especially in the winter? Melt snow? How long does it take to fill a rain barrel full of water? How does it feel to be a farmer and scan the sky, wondering when the rain clouds will appear? And what if we slowed down long enough to sit and dry our hair in the sun?
I don't think it's my imagination -- my hair really does feel very soft. Another benefit? I feel somehow more peaceful, more at ease, with a real gratefulness for how precious water really is.
It really was nicer than any visit to the salon.