The ceiling is high and so are the windows. There, in the soft light streaming down from above, I too washed my face in the clear, knife-cold water of early spring that flowed from the mountains. Seeing the small amount of water in the basin made me feel it was extremely precious. Bending over, I scooped some of it up in my hands, which promptly went numb with cold, and washed my face all at once. It felt as if my skin were being sliced away. Taking in the harshness of the shock, I splashed myself again. The cold, clear water trickled over the contours of my head, quickly evaporating into white steam that rose into the cold air.
Eat Sleep Sit : My Year at Japan's Most Rigorous Zen Temple by Kaoru Nonomura, Juliet Winters Carpenter