The Art of Compromise and Social Nudism

Checking out our garden after a week away from home.

We have returned home from six sun-filled days at Green Haven Sun Club. Of course, I just had to check out the garden while there was still a bit of light outside. The garden is doing well though it is slower this year because of so many cool nights and almost no rain.

It is hard to describe just how good it feels to spend almost a week without clothing on. Only the cold mornings had us put on housecoats for warmth while we were at the campgrounds. I did have to dress for the drive to Regina for a book-signing event (sold 13 books) on Saturday, and again on Sunday evening when we returned to take our grandson out for a shared birthday meal at his current favourite restaurant, I Love Sushi.

We were gifted with new friends who had come to the campgrounds after us, a couple from Ontario. For the next four days we played games outside, swam in the pool, relaxed in the sunshine with them. Though they are ten years (or slightly more) younger than us, there was a shared level of energy and enthusiasm that soon has us planning for future meetups.

Because of the opportunities to engage with energy with another couple, our days as a couple at the campground became easier. Though we were both nude the whole time, she is not a naturist. She takes part once a year just to please me, at some naturist event or other. Contrary to what many proclaim, experiencing a naturist venue and social nudism does not convert a person. There are other factors which are psychological and sociological that play a role in how a person responds to nudism, even when they take part with a smile and full openness. At least both parties get to know each other better through accommodation to preferences and needs.

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Naked Rays Filtered by Smoke Haze

This might be the last picking of berries if there is no rain in the near future.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, my wife and I drive off to spend four days at Green Haven Sun Club. Today has become a busy time with taking care of last minute things such as mowing the lawn, putting the final foodstuffs into the camping trailer, and picking raspberries. And yes, I picked them all skyclad which meant that I walked between the rows with no protection from the thorns. Needless to say, I picked with a mindful attitude – mindful of being present with what I was doing and the conditions around me.

With the temperature falling overnight to only 8 C., and with a north wind, it has been a chilly day which makes being skyclad a bit more of a challenge. Thankfully, the forecast for the rest of the week sounds good, as least good for us but likely not so good for my farmer friends and our garden.

Today I can smell, and almost taste, the smoke that has travelled from the overdose of forest fires that are plaguing British Columbia. It is amazing to think that what happens a thousand kilometres away has a real impact on our life here. The sky now has a smoke haze that filters sunlight. On the up side for many, this means less chance of sunburn. On the down side, it isn’t all that good for one’s lungs, especially if one has allergy issues. But enough about the weather. I have to finish my chores and be ready for an early morning departure. Until the next time, dear reader.

 

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National Nude Day on the Canadian Prairies

A collage of images celebrating National Nude Day.

July 14th, and it’s National Nude Day. I’m not sure if this is just a Canadian event or a multi-nation event. Regardless, it is a good day to be nude here on the Canadian prairies where there is sunshine and quite warm temperatures.

For some reason, this early summer we don’t have an issue with mosquitoes which makes being nude outdoors much more enjoyable. With a good part of our prairie community out camping, or out at cottages, or visiting national parks, or just travelling with a sense of adventure; this little town on the prairies is quiet. With few people around there is more opportunity to be nude outdoors.

I know that I am taking advantage of this opportunity and have spend very few hours with clothes on. I did walk to the massage therapist’s office in the medical centre wearing clothes, but once inside, the clothes came off as she worked on repairing and revitalising my body. My nudity doesn’t bother her, and so it doesn’t bother me. Another two hours was spent wearing a pair of shorts while I got our small camping trailer ready for next week when we go to Green Haven Sun Club for four days of being a clothes free community. The only coverings will likely happen when late evening or early morning chill makes being naked uncomfortable.

So how did you spend your National Nude Day?

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Body Painting as Art and For the Joy and Freedom to be Naked

A collage of body-painted images found on the web.

I’ve decided to return once more to the topic of body-painting. There is little doubt in my mind that body-painting is legitimate art. The images captured on film are no different than paintings when it comes to art. It is all about what is seen and the conscious and unconscious response to what is seen. Art transcends, art is important. Art is …

“something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.”

In a Huffington Post article that wrestles with the definition of art, Botstein, president of Bart College, explains:

” art is “particularly ethically powerful in a democracy… In a democracy it is completely dependent and thrives on the idea of individuality. It breeds an appreciation for dissent or difference, for absence of sameness. We’re under a lot of pressure to conform, we’re under a lot of pressure to give up the inherent and explicit freedoms that we have. We’re under pressure not to stand out from the crowd… Art makes people discover the power of their imagination. It gives them a venue to distinguish themselves by the mere way in which they express their imagination. “

The Book of Genesis

This image, the snake in the Garden of Eden, is a powerful image that challenges, repels, draws in, and refuses to allow us to be detached. It is a powerful image that will linger in one’s mind even when one turns away from it. The image is presented headless allowing the viewer to project either “self” or “other” into the image. As Botstein explained, the power of imagination in each of us is awakened. And that is art.

Brighton U.K. WNBR

Sometimes, and this is getting more and more frequent, body painting is not about art at all, but about having fun so that one can dare to be bare. It is like wearing a mask to an event. When there is a sense that one is masked, camouflaged, one acts in ways that would otherwise be out of character. It allows one to step out of their shy, protected zone in order to revel in the sheer freedom of being naked, especially in social, public settings.

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Green Haven Sun Club – A Unique Little Town on the Prairies

Green Haven Sun Club – June 2013.

I have been going to Green Haven Sun Club not far out of Regina, Saskatchewan for a number of years as the photo to the right serves as witness. I have often gone several times a year using various other reasons for going other than simply for a naturist time-out. For the first three years, I used it as a base from which I would travel on the Estevan for accutherapy appointments in order to deal with seasonal allergy issues (By the way, they worked and I basically have no allergies to speak of). As well, I would use it as a base from which I would travel to the city of Regina for book signing events, something that will happen again in two and a half weeks’ time. A few times, it simply became a change of scenery while I wrote poetry or worked on research.

In the recent past, changes have been occurring at Green Haven. Besides the usual monthly potluck gathering, and Rough Rider football on the big screen in the community hall, there has been an attempt to offer more activities such as painting sessions. In the winter months, monthly naturist swims in a Regina city pool are a highlight for both those living at Green Haven and those living either in or close to the city.

The group at Green Haven has accepted my wife and myself as occasional visitors to the grounds. It’s not always sunny and warm when I go to the site as my scheduled appointments in Estevan sometimes happen during cool and damp times. During those uninviting weeks where enjoyment of camping and sunshine and warmth are unlikely, I usually find myself camping alone. But, I’m never really alone at Green Haven as a number of the people there are year-round residents. I know that if I had to find myself needing to relocate, away from my home in rural Saskatchewan, it would be very tempting to make Green Haven my home community.

 

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Prairie Suns Naturist Travel Club

Brian and Nancy are the heart and soul of the Prairie Suns Naturist Club

I am a member of the Prairie Suns Naturist Club, a non-landed club affiliated with both the FCN and AANR. Being non-landed means that the members meet in more than one location, sometimes at other naturist clubs such as Green Haven in Saskatchewan, and Helios in Alberta.

Pair-a-Dice Acres

That said, most of the Prairie Sun events are hosted on Brian and Nancy’s acreage called Pair-a-Dice Acres, in central Saskatchewan near the city of North Battleford. For the past number of years, my wife and I have visited Nancy and Brian at least once a year for these events.

It is usually done better if it can be done nude.

Canada Day

When at the Prairie Sun’s events, we play games such as Bunnock, swim in the large, above-ground pool, gather in the hot tub on cool mornings or evenings, go for naturist walks, visit with like-minded dwellers on the prairies, and enjoy potluck meals.

Sometimes I have been able to spend time at the acreage with Brian and Nancy as friends without the need for an event such as last summer when I took these photos of life on the prairies where clothing isn’t always necessary, especially when the weather is cooperative.

Still together after all these years with nothing to hide.

I know that I have been fortunate to have been able to find a naturist community only two hours from my home, a community that has welcomed both my wife and myself into their group. Not only do I now have a naturist community, I have real friends who share the same values and who invite us into their home and who are welcomed into our home. Of course, it really isn’t about being nude, for the prairies are famous for four months of relative warm temperatures and eight months of almost winter and winter. When weather dictates, we wear clothing, and like it.

There is a website for those who would be interested in discovering a bit of paradise on the prairies: the Prairie Suns Naturist Travel Club.

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Skyclad on the Prairies

Free-hiking along an almost abandoned road on the prairies.

It’s a beautiful early July summer’s day here on the prairies. With my morning tasks taken care of, I got into my truck and drove about seven kilometres out of town to hike down a road that is rarely used with the exception of a few farmers who use the trail to get to their fields of grain and hay.

After a series of short ascents and descents, the final descent takes me closer to the hills in the distance.

The trail began with a gentle downhill which within steps had me hidden from any dirt road traffic and fully alone with nature. As I walked along, I took photos of the wildflowers which were abundant and beautiful. The trail soon switched to a series of rises and falls which took me further and further away from roads and farmyards.

Time out to enjoy the silence and the sunshine.

There were all sorts of photo opportunities which I took advantage of with the hope of showing you just how inviting the wild prairies are to a naturist. There is nothing boring about the landscape which is anything but flat near my home. Oh, there are relatively flat fields where grain and pulse crops such as canola form the economic foundation of our community and of the Canadian prairies as a whole.

At the end of the trail, it is time to climb the hills.

The path came to an end at a fence line. As I looked back at the way I came, I noticed a “Road Closed” sign. I am thankful for having this trail fall off the radar as it gives me a private place for free-hiking without having to worry about getting caught with my pants down.

Whitebear Lake in the background.

Partway up the hills, I stopped to get a shot that would include the start of Whitebear Lake, a lake that has just re-appeared in the past three years after an absence of decades.

I continued to climb the hills for a little longer and realise that I had forgotten to bring water along with me.

Homeward bound – my home community in the background.

It seemed that with that realisation, I got even thirstier. There was no doubt in my mind that I had to return home in order to re-hydrate. I wasn’t disappointed as I had spent two full hours hiking on the prairies. And since it is still early summer, there will be many more opportunities for other hikes in the hills.

Each time I have walked along this trail, there is always something new that catches my eye, whether it is a plant, an animal, or a curious bird. It is all good.

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Body Painting and a Shifting Perception of the Nude Human

A group of Xingu women applying body paint in Brazil, South America

Body painting is not something new for Pride parades, or World Naked Bike Rides, or for some publicity, or for a modern art installation. It has roots that go back a long ways as these images from South America and Africa hints at.

Mursi men from Ethiopia, Africa

Celtic  warriors from the past were known to be painted in order to instil fear into their enemies. My first meeting with the idea of body art was through my father who got a tattoo as a soldier, a symbol of sorts of who he was as a soldier.

Saskatchewan Roughrider fan

In a way, we still do the same thing today at sporting events where it is the fans in the stands who get painted up for battle-by-proxy. Of course, it isn’t just painted faces for sporting events, there is hardly a children’s event without face-painting or temporary tattoos as part of the event.

World Naked Bike Ride- painted people.

A number of years ago, it became an art form that was looking to stretch the boundaries of the art world with living art. It didn’t take long for the nudist world to adapt the activity for their purposes such as the World Naked Bike Ride that rolls through many cities around the world. There is the aspect of theatre which allows people to disguise their normal self for the events, daring to be nude in public.

Sea of Blue in Hull, U.K.

With the introduction of large scale body-painting events such as the Hull, Sea of Blue, by Spencer Tunick, there becomes even more anonymity – perhaps even a hint of democracy – because of large numbers. And in the process, the human body is being seen clothing free by a larger public who are curious. The fear factor of the naked human body is wearing down, bit by bit because of these efforts, with body-painting being an integral part of that shift in consciousness about nudity.

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The Skyclad – aka – Nude Writer

In the shade on the deck back at writing outdoors while the season permits.

We are in the midst of a heat wave. It began last Saturday and is expected to last another two weeks with temperatures approaching or well above 30C. Naturally, that only encourages me to spend even more time while skyclad, outdoors. Today, I begin to take my writing back outside while the weather is suitable for this activity. It is here that I am writing this blog post.

My neighbour came over for a cup of tea a short while ago not long after I had set up the writing corner. As usual, she saw me in nothing but my skin. This is a common occurrence for her, seeing me without clothing and there is not the slightest trace of her being offended by my nudity.

Because her and her husband are my wife’s friends, I asked her if my wife were to be gone for one reason or other, would they remain my friends? I wanted to clear up the thought that they were only my friends because of my wife, a state that would change if she wasn’t here any more. My neighbour was quick to point out that they were indeed my friends as well, and that they would continue to come over and invite me to their place for meals, beverages, and simply for company.

When one is in a relationship, one enters into relationships with the others in the partner’s orbit. Some of these relationships fall away for one reason or another, and others become shared relationships between the partners. Think of how many men’s guy friends become memories that fade into time. The same goes for many of a woman’s female friends. Only the friends who have carved out a deeper relationship, one that is open to sharing that relationship with their friend’s partner, survive the passage of time.

With years of relationship, new friend relationships are created, “couple relationships.” They in turn change into “couples with children” relationships. And when the nest is empty, with a corresponding change of lifestyle, typically a couple find new friends who share preferred activities, or simply closeness because of proximity such as our neighbour friends. Are they “her” friends, or “his” friends (of course this holds true for a gay or lesbian couple as well)? While there may be a dominant relationship, both partners in a couple are friends, for in these situations, it was the “couple” who connected with other “couples.”

Strange how I shifted once again into the realm of relationships and bypassed the subject of writing nude.

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Garden Chores Au Naturel

I’ve taken all the branches off a tree which will be removed to make room for younger trees.

Today I have a continuing task begun yesterday in the late afternoon. With a neighbour’s help, I got the last four branches, the uppermost branches, off a Green Ash tree, which needs to come down to make room for three young birch trees. All turned out well with no damage to the younger trees, or my wife’s rose garden, or to the power line connecting to our house. Of course, that work was done while I wore shorts and a ball cap. Today’s task can be completed sans vêtements.

First task is to clip smaller branches off the larger ones which then go into my truck parked in the background. Then it will be taking a look at the remaining poles to see which ones can be salvaged for use in the garden as bean poles, and which ones need to be cut up for use in the fire pit by my grandchildren on their next visit in four more weeks’ time.

Once that is all done, I will take down the tree itself using one of my swede saws. Everything is done without power tools of any sort. I don’t care for the noise, and the satisfaction of doing it all by hand is immense for me. Thankfully, all of the remaining tasks can and will be done while skyclad. Though it seems to be a destructive task, it isn’t as the leaves and branches will return to the soil over time. As well, the three young birch trees will become healthier and stronger because of my efforts. There are trade offs, even in nature.

There are trade offs in the realm of relationships as well. To make way for changes, something old must be pruned. What worked in the past stops working when one, or both partners begin changing. A shift is needed to accommodate change for the relationship to return to a thriving state. It sounds simple enough, and it can be if only we would dare to let go of our need to have our ego call all the shots.

 

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