Appease No More – Pt 2

Telling it like it is, naturally.

Telling it like it is, naturally.

Normally I would have cropped this photo so as to not offend anyone. However, it is likely that the only people who read posts at this blog site are naturists or nudists themselves. For others who aren’t naturists or nudists, I think most are open-minded enough to “expect” to see a fully “naturist” image when reading at this site.

The act of trying to appease the unknown is more a statement about myself than of others. The roots of trying to appease go deep, back in time to early childhood. At some point, the reactive motions of the present need to let go of the triggers of the past. Learning to be present in this immediate time space is vital for all of us on our life journeys. At some point each of us needs to be fully and honestly ourselves and not hiding behind walls built in the past based on fear.

Fear is the operative word. It is a toxin that permeates all of our interactions with others. We fear censure, we fear getting into legal conflict, we fear having those we care about abandon us, we fear our own shadows (the skeletons, the ghosts, and the memories of our individual pasts), and we fear our communities which appear to be hell-bent on controlling us as much as possible. Our social media is just an extension of those communities. Mob mentality becomes judge and jury and even social-presence executioner. The mob decides what is “acceptable.” The mob punishes when that fuzzy line of acceptability is crossed. So, we as individuals, train ourselves to hide most of who and what we are.

This is not about morality, this mob-mentality. It is simply people and organisations fighting its own shadow. The enemy is out there, the enemy is personal and collective shadow unconsciously projected onto those who show less fear, or worse, no fear.

I can’t change Facebook or other social media sites. I can challenge them, shake them up. To acquiesce is to feed and reinforce the mob-mentality. Silence is a vote of confidence in the mob-mentality that is the foundation for social media. It is better to create new portals, new networks where the freedom to be honest and authentic are possible as the mob is challenged. At some point, lights may turn on.

Now it the time to “appease no more.” Now, about the photo. I am holding my naturist novel which you can order from Amazon.Com 🙂

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Appease No More – Pt 1

There is so much to think about, too many paths cloaked in the shadows. Yet the path must be taken.

There is so much to think about, too many paths cloaked in the shadows. Yet the path must be taken.

As the blog title suggests, it’s time to say “Enough is enough!” Like others in the recent path behind me who said enough is enough in the “Idle No More,” movement, I am making a personal choice to stop enabling the anti-nudity majority. I refuse to give up authority over myself to people who, regardless of who I am or what I am, will never have respect for me.

I can understand why they are unable to respect life choices of others; these “anti-everything”others have no real respect for themselves. Everything they disrespect about themselves is projected upon others. The more and greater their self-hate and self-disrespect, the more strident their voices and efforts to punish others. It shows up in all areas of their lives, not just in the world of naturism. Not able to control their own “shadow,” they do their damnedest to control others.

Walk into any staff room of any world of work enterprise and you will encounter the individual and collective shadow operating. Those with the most repressed shadow contents become the workplace and staffroom bullies. This phenomenon is not limited to staff rooms, it shows up in committees where someone always seems to emerge as the most powerful voice who is unwilling to back down from a stance forcing the others to acquiesce or quit in protest. It shows up in gatherings of friends. It shows up in classrooms and in school hallways. In any of these or other scenarios “appeasement” doesn’t resolve any issue to a level of satisfaction. So, why should appeasement work when adopted as a method of navigating the outer world that is basically anti-nude or simply indifferent to naturism and nudism?

The image I chose for today’s post is a first step in declaring “appease no more.” It is a real picture of a real man. It isn’t a “suggestive” photo. It isn’t photoshopped in hopes of obtaining an idealised image. It is simply me. I am saying I’ve had enough of censorship.

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Appeasement of the Offended Majority – Pt 2

An old soul that has finally found peace in self.

An old soul that has finally found peace in self.

It has taken a long time to find peace in myself. The doubts have been replaced with confidence. Yet, when it comes time to post a photo, the confidence seems to wither a bit. I find myself doing some judicious cropping so as to not offend any of my readers. The photos then offer some evidence that I am truly skyclad, that it isn’t all talk without the action to affirm the words. I guess I am still telling the truth and illustrating that truth in images. But, something insidious is happening below the surface. I find myself undermining my own words.

In an attempt to appease some unknown reader, I censor myself and present what is now being called “Facebook Friendly” images. And, I am not the only one. Besides the strategy of “cropping” images to remove “offending” butt creases and genitals, we use judicious placement of hands and arms, or more creatively, photo-edited stickies to cover nipples, butts and genitals.

This is the self daring to proclaim authenticity. No cover up

This is the self daring to proclaim authenticity. No cover up

All of the strategies then “somewhat” appease the angry presences that want us gone from all social media. I say somewhat because where complete nudity is evident in spite of following the rules, images get reported and removed because someone was still “offended.” The more we appease, the less satisfied are those who have made a mission to recraft the human race in their image – fully clothed and asexual. And in the process, we find our rights to be “authentic” disappear beneath the waves of outrage.

We retreat in fear behind closed doors, behind drawn curtains, and even then we keep a wrap or cover-up handy just in case it is needed. We become prisoners in our homes. If we become a bit less fearful we build high walls, privacy fences, so that we can dare to be outside when the weather permits.

At one with nature and at peace with the self.

At one with nature and at peace with the self.

However, for many, the right to be bare only comes within the confines of a gated area with strict rules to keep naturists inside and everyone else outside; or, within the permitted resorts that cater to nakations. This isn’t to say that resorts and other naturist options are not appreciated and valued; however, there is a difference in being hidden away, and choosing a secluded place for a needed retreat from noise and too much interaction.

We appease and then wonder why those whom we appease aren’t more willing to give as well as receive. We somehow are shocked that instead of easing up, the “reaction” focuses on increasing restrictions and out-right banning of nudity. A policy of appeasement doesn’t work. It has never worked in the preludes to wars and other bloody conflicts or in negotiations of most economic endeavours. Giving others power has the effect of having them want even more power.

There is a need for any and all who value personal authority for “self” to reclaim that authority from the “others” who have their own personal agendas. What do you value about yourself, your planet and your relationship to the world?

I will return to continue this theme of reclaiming the “Self.”

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Appeasement of the Offended Majority

Proud to be authentic and natural.

Proud to be authentic and natural.

Emma pays us another visit on the blog site (with permission) to add her voice to the growing assemblage of naturists who are fed up at being demonized for being honest about who they are and what they believe in – the right of humans to not wear clothes. Yet, for all the
bravery, we cover up a bit even when we are free of our clothing when there is a chance that we might disturb or offend someone.

Body painting and naturally "self."

Body painting and naturally “self.”

Living in a culture that has a fear of the nude human body, we find ourselves at odds with that society. It doesn’t matter that we have risked being authentic to ourselves. The phobia others have of their own bodies are transferred, projected onto anyone who doesn’t resonate with their belief systems that have the naked human body as somehow being something to fear to sometimes the point of irrational panic and believed trauma. So we ask ourselves “Do we wear the minimum of clothing in order to keep the peace, in order to stay on the right side of our communities?”

The problem with covering up is that clothing enhances the “sexuality” of the subject. The briefer the clothing, the more the “other” may become “excited.” Our culture then blames the scantily covered with “asking to be raped or sexually assaulted.” Yet, curiously, certain clothing or activities seem to tell us a different story of the human psyche. Take part in body painting and the naked body becomes “art.” Well, that is true with the exception of body-painted males. A painted penis is still a psychological threat to the collective psyche.

It's time for a picnic and to be at one with self and nature.

It’s time for a picnic and to be at one with self and nature.

Naked Bike rides are a different story. Here, hundreds can ride down main streets of cities, drawing crowds numbering into the thousands, most armed with cameras to record the nudity passing before them. No one is offended, no one is traumatized.  Logic doesn’t enter into the equation.

Yet, given a simple natural scene that is as far away from the possibility of being suggestive or inviting in a sexual context, all hell breaks loose. It is precisely the images of naturalness, non-sexuality, innocence, and otherwise simply being a normal human doing something incredibly normal (perhaps even boring) that infuriates the collective who raise their voices in injured protest asking the authorities to deal harshly with us for disturbing them with our presence, with our evident joy in simply being alive and at one with the world.

The response of most naturists and nudists is to appease the angered, the collective mob. And in doing this, we empower that mob thus worsening the situation for all who dare to go bare. I will have a lot more to say about this in future posts.

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Naturist Publishing Service

Shelter from the wind

Shelter from the wind

Windy. It’s very windy today. Going outside is not very enjoyable when wind is gusting and buffeting a person. As a result, I am inside for most of the day, working on the networking necessary to build a business and to sell books. At the moment, all looks good in terms of a local context with local meaning on the prairies. But there is a lot of work left to do. I need to set up a website, not an offshoot blog site, for the Retired Eagle Books business.

I am waiting on a new mobile phone with a new number that will be associated with the business. With the new phone activated, I can then create business cards that can then be left with book stores as I find them in my travels. I am also contacting a number of people to act as marketing and sales agents for my books in other countries, perhaps even in other regions of Canada. Since the naturist market is not very big in book-selling terms, there is little incentive for others to become agents. However, it isn’t so bad with my “normal” books which are selling very well.

And so, I have decided to add to the business by inviting others to submit their books and book ideas so that I can publish them under my Retired Eagle Books brand. The focus on naturist and Jungian themes will allow these books to be published without worrying about paying for that service. The only cost will come when books are ordered when I will add on a fee for service. Books then become available to the writers at just above printing and handling costs to do with as they wish. Books would also be placed on the Amazon paperback and eBook platforms with the majority of royalties paid out to the authors. I know I won’t get rich doing this, but at my age, I am more interested in keeping busy and doing what I can to make a difference in the bigger picture.

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Legitimate Power of “Self”

Emma, hiking water break.

Emma, hiking water break.

A return visit from this image (used with permission of course). The original post has gone the way of the dinosaurs due various factors. Emma James has asked me to convey to my readers, that whilst she did agree to my using this picture in a blog, she had no insight into what I was planning to compose. Further she is keen to stress her recent ban on Facebook had nothing to do with this picture, which was shared on twitter not Facebook. My error on the source for the image and my misunderstanding of the rationale for the ban, caused some consternation which I hope is has now been resolved.

My original intention was to speak of how nudity is sexual only in certain contexts. In this image, no sexuality is implied. The scene is self-explanatory. She is drinking water out of necessity after having engaged in a hike with others on what was obviously a very warm day in Europe. Full nudity is evident, but at the same time, the triggers for some (nipples, buttocks, genitals) are not seen. The image is solely “naturist” in composition and intent. Yet, some humans are triggered by the obvious fact of nudity regardless of what is seen. The triggers are in response to their conditioning, their cultural and/or childhood histories. Yet somehow, the modern western world has allowed this minority response to become the determinants of what is or is not acceptable.

As a society we are becoming terrorized by perceived micro-aggressions. Universities, schools, businesses, and other groups become afraid of the consequences should they fall afoul of the empowered voices who feel offended by what they hear, see or even understand in any given situation. This is all driven by the need for “power.” The intent is to control our environment to the point where the rights of others is absolutely curtailed. Every bit of power/control gained leaves the person wanting more and more power and control. What if the bubble created becomes a personal utopia? The ego rationalises that to achieve that utopia, all is fair in regards to the outer world and others.

So, what is really happening in the photo? Simple, Emma is drinking water with the intention to meet a basic need due to the activity of hiking on a very warm day. Does clothing or the lack of clothing make any difference? In truth, it only makes a real difference to Emma who chose not to be wearing clothing. She has the basic right of maintaining her legitimate power of “self.”

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The Healing Power of Being Honest

My latest book is now on sale.

My latest book is now on sale.

“Healing a Broken Man” is now on sale in various locations, as well as on-line at Amazon. It is the final book in the autobiographical series that hopefully sheds light on why a rather ordinary man somehow found his path to healing via naturism, Buddhism, and Jungian psychology. The focus is on the movement from unconscious presence to becoming aware of all the warts, bruises, scrapes, and stains on the psyche. The work was not simply one of removing clothing, it was a serious peeling off of layers of denial and ferreting out skeletons from the closet.

It is a naturist book at its core, a testament to the healing power of being honest in one’s body, mind and soul. Now that it is being distributed, first in my home community, my neighbours get to understand a bit more of that strange man who is rumoured to sometimes be naked. Was it a courageous act to write this story? I don’t think so, it was more about spilling one’s guts out, like purging after drinking or eating too much, a purging that allows one to finally breath again. I hope you take the chance on ordering the book and reading it. If you are interested, the book can be found at CreateSpace and at Amazon.

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There Is A Need To Take Offense

Sunshine brings smiles and an embracing of life right down to one's bare skin.

Sunshine brings smiles and an embracing of life right down to one’s bare skin.

This is Emma. She is a friend of mine who has just been booted from Facebook for three days due to this photo. When I saw the photo, I was envious of the warmth evident in the photo and the fact that she was able to enjoy the sunshine without the need to hide either her inner or outer self with physical or psychological camouflage.

Like many others, I have issues with S.A.D., a condition that has me flee the northern plains for a sub-tropical climate when daylight hours wane and temperatures dip so much that one doesn’t dare naturist outdoor activities, let alone when one is wrapped up in multi-layers of protective material. With the nearness of warmer temperatures, most of the naturists I know are busy sending messages in order to arrange for nude potluck BBQs, meetups in backyard swimming pools, and a nakation at some safe naturist location.

For me, it is a two hour drive for meeting up with another couple when both of us are free (work and other commitments), and a four hour drive to Green Haven Sun Club here in Saskatchewan. It will be a few weeks before I can get to walk au naturel in the hills away from people who are not the most tolerant of nudity, even if it is a solitary figure walking down a dusty, dirt road. In the mean time, I take the opportunities that present themselves in between the marketing activity for my books to be nude at home and in my private yard. I am fortunate that my neighbours know and have no issue of me being nude within these confines.

Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites are less tolerant. The sight of a nipple, buttocks, or even worse, the frontal view of genitals is viewed as something worse than terrorism. Friends have lost their accounts, been banned for various lengths of time, and often harassed because of perceived nudity. For Emma, the suggestion that one can see her nipples was all it took. Yet, if she or I posted images of people being beheaded, overtly sexually provocative, or of any sort of violence including violence against women and children – there is no offense taken and all is well.

Think about it. At what point do we take offense and then take ethical action to turn the tables so that we promote a healthier and more peaceful world?

Posted in Jungian Psychology, Naturism | 6 Comments

Doing a Small Part in Fighting Child Abuse

Just off the edges of a roadside park, nature waits.

Just off the edges of a roadside park, nature waits.

It’s raining, finally. It has been a long time since I have seen rain with today being the first day since our return from Mexico. Two days ago, World Naked Gardening Day, I travelled to a town where I spent twenty years as a teacher to bring my latest book for a book signing event. It went well with thirty books sold in the three hour period. A lot of visiting filled the time and made the day particularly fulfilling. I didn’t get any gardening in, naked or clothed as I spent six hours of the day in driving there and back.

I did, however, get out for a moment of fresh air in a park near the town, just before it was time for the event. For a half hour, I was free in the sunshine. There is no going out today as it is cold as well as wet. So, I am spending my time indoors contacting booksellers and arranging for other book signing events with hopes of getting my books into more homes. The more books I sell, the more gets donated to the deserving cause of a Child Advocacy Centre on the Canadian prairies.


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Second Skyclad Novel – Chapter One: Part Three

A proper cup of tea

A proper cup of tea

The session was over. René led him back to the vestibule for his jacket and shoes before seeing him out the door.

Since he was still dressed, René decided to go to the mall which was close by. He was having his two adult children with their spouses and children over for a movie and popcorn night in a few days and he needed a few groceries, a couple of bottles of wine, some fake wine for the kids, and an assortment of snack foods. As well, René needed to get out of the house for a while to process his session with Richard. It was a bit cool, but not as cold as normal for early November in Ottawa. Just before he went out the door, my phone rang.

“Hi René.”

It was Frieda calling. Once René had been home for almost a week, Frieda had contacted him on the Internet putting the doubts he had about her being real to rest. Since then she called him about once a week. René hadn’t expected to hear from her until late in the afternoon. The five hours difference in time zones meant that they usually kept to a routine time with their calls.

“Hi Frieda. You caught me just before I went out the door for some groceries.”

“Good, I just wanted you to know that I will call you a bit later than normal this evening as I am heading out to dine with some of my friends,” Frieda explained. “I’ll call you later if you’re going to be home.”

“Sounds good to me. I’ll be here,” he promised. “I’ll make sure that my calendar is cleared so that I will have some quality phone time with you,” he added in a voice that he hoped sounded sexy and a bit husky.”

After the phone was put back into its stand for charging, René left for the shopping mall. An hour and a half later, he was back home where he wasted little time in getting comfortable before heading back into his office so that he could begin Richard’s file. Wearing only a light robe, he retreated into a corner where he had a small gas fireplace and his favourite chair. René turned on the fireplace so that the chill would be soon replaced with warmth. He placed a mug of tea on the side table and made himself comfortable, placing the robe behind himself in case he got chilled.

René opened up his laptop and created a new document which he then placed in a new folder that was then placed in another folder which held the files of other clients. Everything that had to do with René’s psychotherapy practice was protected with encryption, a requirement mandated by the profession. René backed up all his files onto a protected external hard drive once a week which he then kept locked up in a filing cabinet. René took his counselling work seriously and that included respecting the rights of his clients to security and privacy.

Staring at the laptop after having entered the first bits of information, René began to think about how Richard’s story had triggered his own issues from the past. No sooner had he noted the affect rising within himself, he realised that he’d have to seek out his own therapist to avoid mixing Richard’s issues with his own. He didn’t want transference issues to sabotage the work to come. René would need to connect with Jacques to be his sounding board. As a trained analyst, Jacques would alert René to the problems that cropped up and then work through them as needed. René filed that thought away knowing he would call Jacques once the counselling work with Richard began in earnest.

It didn’t take long to record the information from the initial meeting with Richard. The room had warmed up and René sat back facing the fireplace with a cup of tea in hand. The glow from the fireplace warmed his body, giving it a red glow. Closing his eyes to bask in the warmth, René’s mind drifted away in time.


“I can’t do it anymore!” I cried to my wife, Rosaline. “I can’t keep all the pieces together, making sure that you, the kids, work, and our other commitments are taken care of. I can’t sleep without nightmares. I struggle to get to work and stay there until quitting time. I’d fire me if I was in charge.”

“René,” soothed Rosaline. “You’ll feel better in the morning. You always do. Maybe tomorrow will be a good day.”

That scene had taken place just two days before René found himself crying at work, sitting in the men’s washroom unable to return to his office where a report was waiting for his attention. René was a mess. He slept just four hours a day. René couldn’t blame work for stealing the time as he had been doing as little as possible without getting in trouble with the clinic manager. René couldn’t blame his children for taking up too much of his time. The truth was, he was overdoing it, going to all of their practices, games and performances. He was getting in the way of their own journeys of becoming independent. René couldn’t blame Rosaline for she was filling in the gaps that had opened up while René’s life had been falling apart.

“You just don’t understand, Rosaline, it’s getting worse, not better. Can’t you see that I’m in trouble? Can’t you tell that I’m becoming a basket case? You just can’t wish it away with a smile and positive sayings. I can feel it in you, too. You tighten up and go silent every time I screw up in small ways. I see you pull away in your mind, and I feel like shit.“

Rosaline retreated from his onslaught into silence until she couldn’t take any more of René’s self-pity which had a sharp edge that directed cuts at her. Then, like almost every other time, she reacted with sharp words of her own. These night wars had been going on for more than a few years becoming more frequent and wounding both in the process.

“I don’t understand? What kind of asshole are you? Of course I understand.” Rosaline fired back. “You are feeling guilty and that guilt is eating away at you.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” I said through clenched teeth not wanting to wake up the kids. “What has this got to do with feeling guilty?”


That scene from the past, passed through René’s thoughts while he sat by the fire. It wasn’t long after that eruption that René had suffered his first burnout, which left both his personal and professional life in shambles and sent him in search of help twenty-one years ago. René was thirty-seven years old at that time, about the same age as Richard. Like Richard, René looked outside of his city for help as he was too ashamed to let people know that he was broken. Luckily it wasn’t that far to travel to see a psychoanalyst in Montréal. Another similarity with what René had learned so far about Richard is the perception that they both had what others saw as the perfect families.

René’s tea had turned cold as he had forgotten it was there as he got lost in thought. René was used to this, having hot drinks grow cold because of his head taking off to wander in inner worlds. René got up from my chair in front of the fireplace and wandered into the kitchen in order to warm up his tea in the microwave. With the mug of tea re-heated, he was about to return to his comfortable chair when the door opened. It was Jacques who upon seeing René standing there with the mug of tea, remarked:

“Why is it every time I come here you are stark naked? Don’t just stand there with your mouth open, go back into the kitchen and pour me a cup of tea, in a proper cup, not a mug.”

“If it bothers you to see me naked in my own house, knock and wait until I have time to put something on so that your sensibilities aren’t disturbed.” René retorted as he set his mug down and headed back into the kitchen remarking, “Go make yourself comfortable by the fireplace. I’ll be right back with your proper cup of tea – one sugar and double cream coming up.”

Jacques was a psychoanalyst in his mid-eighties. The two men had become friends about fifteen years ago when René met him at a depth psychology conference in Toronto. René had been working as a therapist for almost five years at that time and was still exploring various counselling techniques which would help him work with my older clients. For adolescents and adults in the first half of life, Gestalt therapy and Solution-Focused Brief therapy worked well for René. For those who came with issues such as Richard’s, something more was needed.

At the conference, Jacques had taken a seat at a table near the front of the convention room which was in a large hotel with round tables with seating for six people at each table. Though the other chairs were still empty as most people took seats closer to the back of the room, Jacques had sat immediately beside René. A Jungian psychoanalyst and author was giving a presentation on something called archetypes, presences within each human, part of the individual and collective unconscious. The idea was that somehow those archetypes were independent of ego. It all sounded quite confusing, but it was interesting, even fascinating.

Since that initial meeting, Jacques often visited unannounced, always walking in as if René’s house was his home. Somehow, he only did so when René was alone, when there were no clients or family to disturb. And typically, it was when René had need of him whether he was consciously aware of that need or not.  René had become used to Jacques showing up unannounced. However, in the beginning, it was kind of shocking to see him walk into the house without ringing the bell or knocking. At the beginning René seriously was upset that Jacques didn’t respect René’s space and simply acted as if he owned the space. Jacques had since become René’s mentor, his father-confessor, an amiable pain-in-the-ass when René needed a figurative kick in the pants.

René walked back into the office carrying a small tray with an old English teapot, a cup and saucer, sugar cubes and a shot glass filled with condensed milk, Jacques idea of cream. Setting the tray on a TV tray beside Jacques’ favourite chair, a rocking chair with upholstered fabric the same as that used on the reclining arm chair and the basket swivel chair, René reached for my robe to cover up before sitting down.

“What? Are you all of a sudden turning into a prude?” criticized Jacques as René began to wrap the robe around himself. “It’s not like I haven’t seen you toute nue before.”

“But, you were complaining just a few minutes ago about my nudity.”

“No I wasn’t, I simply made an observation that you need to think about. Now,” he continued, “Sit down and enjoy your tea before it gets cold.”

René left his robe on as he sat, still feeling uncomfortable with what Jacques had intimated. They didn’t say much while Jacques poured himself a cup of proper tea. After several quiet moments savouring his tea, Jacques brought up the reason for his visit.

“So, how did it go with Richard?”

René stared at Jacques with incredulity. “How did you know about Richard?”

“Harrumph!  I sent him to you of course. How else do you think someone from Hawkesbury would even know about you? It’s not like you advertise your practice. He needs help and you are the best person to help him.”

Without thinking about it, René reacted to his words that sounded like praise from my mentor with a smile, “I didn’t know you thought I was the best therapist.”

“Good Lord! I didn’t say any such thing. I said that you would be the best for Richard and his particular issues. You have both been down the same road. You know that particular broken road intimately,” he finished with exasperation.

I considered myself suitably humbled by Jacques’ statement. “I am sure he will come back,” René  finally answered in response to Jacques’ earlier question. “We have arranged for alternate weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, until Christmas. We will see how it goes from there.”

“So,” continued Jacques, “When is Frieda coming back? I like her. Can’t figure out what she sees in you though.”

Jacques had been a frequent visitor to the house when Frieda came two weeks after René’s return from walking the Camino together with her. She had stayed for four days before heading back to Europe and her home in Norway. Frieda loved the old man and it was obvious that Jacques appreciated her as well.

“She told me yesterday that she will be here next Tuesday. She intends on having her own place here near the city, an acreage with lots of trees near water.” René explained to his mentor. “She wants to begin looking now so she can see what she is getting through the eyes of winter. She knows winter and long nights.”

“Good,” smiled Jacques. “I’m looking forward to seeing her again. Now, it’s time for me to leave. I’ve got a dinner engagement to attend,” he continued as he rose from the chair by the fireplace. “Say ‘Hello,’ to your grandchildren for me when you see them on Friday.”

‘How is it that he knew about the movie night with the grandchildren and their parents? I know that I had not mentioned it to them,’ thought René with more than a bit of confusion.

“You look surprised,” chuckled Jacques. “You always have them over on Friday nights when there isn’t a conference, a presentation, or a journey out of the city at hand. You are so predictable.”

Jacques left with his usual formal shaking of my hand. He wasn’t one for giving or receiving hugs. Alone once again, René was hesitant to return to sit by the fireplace and wait for Frieda’s phone call, so I went in the kitchen to make himself a salad for his supper.

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