Getting Ready For Winter While I Still Can Naked

There’s yard work to do before the snows of winter arrive for good.

I have returned from a four-day book-signing journey that took place in Edmonton. It was while I was there talking with various managers of Indigo and Chapters stores that I came to realise that I am a best-selling author on the Canadian prairies. Now just to determine what makes an author a best-selling author, one needs to know the parameters. I was placed on the best-selling author list at a weekly a McNally-Robinson Bookstore for selling the most books by a local author during a certain week-period last year. This year I am easily pulling in top selling prairie author at various cities for various weeks, and even months. So, what does that mean?

Typically as I learned this past weekend, a local, prairie author sells about three to five books. Usually, as in this past weekend, I average between 40 to 50 books sold on a weekend. In June, a three-day total was more than 60 books sold in Calgary. It doesn’t sound like much, but when it is taken in comparison to other prairie authors, it is quite impressive. I got confirmation of that in each store where I have sold books this year with the exception of two stores where “I” made the mistake of booking an event on a summer holiday. Still, even on those days, I sold more than the average prairie author. All of that said, I won’t be making a living selling books.

I have sold more than 800 paperback copies of my books over the past two and a half years at such events. I likely have sold less than a hundred paperbacks via other means. As for eBooks, I haven’t been tracking them though I do receive monthly payments from Amazon, and occasionally from Smashwords for my books. To be honest, I don’t put any energy into online sales at all. When I am not out selling books at book-signing events, I prefer to be writing books, poems, and stories – as well as writing up blog posts.

Yet, it isn’t all about writing. I have a home and yard that demands some of my time as well. I will be trimming hedges and bushes, raking up leaves, winterising my camping trailer and other home-owner tasks that are necessary to get ready for another Canadian prairie winter.

Who Are the Proponents For Legalised Nudity?

Wishing that somehow it was a bit different.

The sun came out briefly while I was taking care of some business in the house. Now that the tasks are done, the clouds have rolled back in lending a sense of greyness and heaviness. Earlier in the day, I took this photo before the sun made its brief appearance, an image that is wistful in mood.

The draw to naturism sees me outside regardless of the temperature which in this case was almost 5C. If it would have been sunny, the temperature would have been much more bearable. Still, I’m a Canadian and refuse to allow the weather to lock me indoors.

At present, our Federal government is looking at the criminal code with the objective to make it more in keeping with the present mindset when it comes to youth. There are a few aspects of the Canadian Criminal Code that touches on nudity. Surprisingly, the few changes already proposed appear to be lessening the penalties for nudity in certain cases. Since the changes are focused on youth, it is unlikely that there will be an elimination of section 174 dealing with private and public nudity. I wonder if it would be productive to contact the committee to take advantage of the opportunity to make other changes such as legalising the right of Canadians to be nude?

As you may or may not be aware, I am a Board member of the Federation of Canadian Naturists [FCN]. The Board is considering its options with regards to the changes to the criminal code. I won’t be talking about that discussion, as it is still in progress. Rather, I want to look at who would be for and who would be against the legalisation of nudity in Canada – simple nudity that isn’t overtly sexual in terms of activity. As I ponder this topic, I begin to suspect that there are opponents within the naturist community itself to adopting the new standards now in place in the U.K.

Why do I say that? I look at determining who would have the most to lose with changes to the status quo – the answer being the various naturist clubs scattered throughout the country. Our clubs are basically hidden and locked communities which are strict about who they allow to know their locations and who can enter through their gates. They are basically the only game in town. For most single, naturist men, those gates are firmly closed. I visited one of these Canadian naturist sites and found out that all prospective visitors are vetted before the club agrees to allow the guest to experience their site. Yes, I was checked to ensure that I was a valid member of another naturist site. I was welcomed as my home club did communicate the vital information that my wife and I did indeed take part in their club activities. That was important as I was to visit this site on my own while my wife was working.

Others whom I know, are not allowed to attend in spite of the fact that they are married. Without the participation, or anticipated participation of the spouse, the doors remain closed regardless of the spouse’s past participation. With the naturist club being the only game in the province, their membership becomes a captive audience. Inclusion in their group boosts the ego. No one wants to risk losing the only space available for social nudity.

Eliminate the “need” to be part of the exclusive group, and the group typically goes the way of the dinosaurs. Do groups such as AANR or TNS really want to have all the laws change to allow nudity to be a legal choice? The need for advocacy would disappear, and with it, their rationale d’être. The national groups need something to rally the troops, so-to-speak. With that need, membership money flows to these groups, money which doesn’t give a person one hour of social nudity as the groups don’t hold land or operate clubs. Clubs are affiliated. The enemy is clear … but not so clear at all. The textile society is claimed to be the enemy. Yet, below the distraction of pointing fingers at our neighbours, competing groups for the same audience are soon cast as villains as well. Who truly speaks for naturists and nudists?

My intent is not to present an answer but merely to ask the questions so that you can think about this and make choices accordingly. After all, it is your money and your future as a naturist that is at risk.

Celtic Gods and Goddesses Slumming

I am trying out a new approach to a story that I have been researching for a number of months. Abbéville is a real place in Picardy, France, not too distant from a town where it appears my family had its roots. Recent DNA tests highlight the Celtic roots of my ancestors. The characters below in the story are Celtic deities that would have been familiar to people in the 800s and through to relatively recent times in spite of the efforts of the Christian Church. Please, let me know what you think of this opening.

* * * * *

Chapter One

Lugh

The sun came through the branches to leave a mottled appearance to the almost invisible path through the forest. The morning was promising a hotter than normal day for early June as I made my way towards the village of Abbéville with Cernunnos, Áine, and Brigantia at my side. Abbéville wasn’t our destination, but it was the place where we would rejoin the mortal world in the guise of ordinary people. Our real destination was a village called Longuet. Our journey would have been much quicker had we walked directly to the village, but we didn’t want to appear there without establishing a normal presence in the area.

Áine

The Christian Church was always on the lookout for heathens and heretics.

Áine was like a sister to me, a younger sister. Her red hair stirred with the passing breeze. She wore a green skirt that contrasted with her hair and the gossamer wings that had been folded an made invisible as we walked, the only one amongst us to be wearing any clothing. Her horse, a roan, followed with the others as we made our way down the faintly visible trail. Unlike Brigantia, her pale skin was unmarked.

Brigantia was more like my twin sister with long blond hair.

Brigantia

Her body was covered in blue tattoos that were hypnotic to anyone who dared to stare. She walked holding onto her golden spear that was longer than she was tall. Though beautiful beyond imagining, seeing her left most men quivering in fear. Her horse was as black as midnight

Cernunnos

Cernunnos was my best friend. Like me, he had dark hair, almost black. Like Brigantia, his body was covered in blue tattoos. And like her, he was fearsome in his appearance, especially when he wore his crown of antlers. His physical power evoked both awe and fear among men, and desire in women. Cernunnos was quick to take advantage of these women who wanted nothing more that to mate. Like Brigantia, he carried a weapon, a long oak staff that was stained from battles from the past. Unlike the rest of us, Cernunnos had no horse. When he shape-shifted, he took on the aspect of a stag.

We had left almost two hours earlier from an unnamed hamlet secreted in the depths of the forest. The place was warded so that strangers wouldn’t stumble upon it by accident. The power of the warding came from a krommlec’h in the form of a circle of stones surrounding a raised stone altar. The hamlet was Cernunnos’ home if it could be said that he needed a place to call home.

As we neared the first signs of other people, each of us hid our natural appearances behind clothing and a small spell that would prevent others from noticing us too much. We blended in with the typical physical appearance of others making sure we were non-descript, something that wasn’t too hard for us to do. What clothing and supplies we needed were taken from the packs on the horses before they were released to return on their own to Cernunnos’ hamlet in the forest. The magic needed was activated to disguise my sword, Áine’s spear, and Cernunnos’ staff to look like ordinary walking sticks. Readied, we slipped from the forest onto the rutted trail that led to the river crossing that would take them into Abbéville.

“Loo, I have to say that you look much better as a peasant,” laughed Cernunnos. “You might even find a toothless hag or two actually lower their standards to take you into their beds.”

“Cern, you’re a pig,” Brigantia spoke with a disgusting tone. “All you ever think about is your staff and where you can bury it.”

“Ugh!” Áine added. “Can’t you talk about anything else?”

“You’re such a prissy one,” Cernunnos laughed. “As if you don’t enjoy a good time in the sack as anyone.”

Lugh smiled at the banter that had begun to emerge, talk that made them sound like locals. They had arrived at the river crossing and found themselves in a small crowd that waited to cross the river in flat-bottomed boats that were tethered to a long rope that spanned the river. The convivial conversation of others surrounding them was just as raunchy. A few of the others frowned and shook their heads. Their threadbare brown robes proclaimed them as belonging to the Church. Lugh held out a few coins to pay for their passage to the opposite shore. Since it was a market day, the town of Abbéville was attracting quite a few, a situation that would make it even easier for Lugh and his companions to blend in.

Brigantia was barely controlling her anger when Lugh spotted her ready to strike a large oafish and overweight man who had just fondled her buttocks. Lugh gave a shake of his head in warning. The last thing they needed to do was to have her teach the oaf a lesson which would have him think twice about taking liberties with women he didn’t know. There were too many clerics around who would attribute any such retribution as a sign of witchcraft. Rather that strike the man with her walking stick, she turned and glared at him. Just enough of her fury showed in her eyes to have back away lifting his arms as if proclaiming his innocence. The incident passed and soon they found themselves walking through the market place in Abbéville.

 

Being Fully and Honestly Present When Naked

No Time To Lose – being fully present in self.

As I sit still with my thoughts today, a blustery day with the wind from the east, whipping trees that result in leaves falling onto the ground, I found a moment of well-being that is hard to explain. It isn’t explained away as happiness or sadness, a mood of some sort that could be understood through some sort of psychological or physiological analysis. It is almost as if I can stand outside of myself, and by that I mean step outside of my controlling ego. I took this photo, ostensibly for my journal where I chronicle some of my life, especially anything to do with naturism and being skyclad.

Why this particular pose? It was meant to simply record a nude state of being with the temperature outdoors included. However, now that I see the result, I find something else being exposed. The almost smile is in sharp contrast to the original intent of the photo. Regardless, I had an image for my journal and then retreated into the warmth of the house. Rather than beginning to write in the journal, I opened up a book on my shelf written by Pema Chodron called No Time To Lose. It was a random choice, and just as randomly, I found these words which were originally written twelve hundred years ago, words that I somehow needed to hear.

“What I have to say has all been said before

And I am destitute of learning and of skill with words,

I therefore have no thought that this might be of benefit to others;

I wrote it only to sustain my understanding.”

[Shantideva, Bodhicharyavatarta 1.2]

For some time, my ego has inflated itself with the idea that I have something important to write for the world. Perhaps my wisdom would touch someone through the novels I write, or the poetry, or my autobiography, or even here in my blog posts? Of course I know that most people have never heard of me or will ever read my words. And the truth is, none of that is very important. I mean, I’m just another wounded person wandering around the planet who hopes that he doesn’t pollute the world too much.

I’m not the smartest person regardless of what my ego often tells me when it points out the high IQ scores, scores that don’t comfort me when I screw up doing basic, ordinary stuff. I’m not the most talented in any area of the arts or life. Yet, I am not the worst either. No matter how hard I study myself and the world, I continually come back to the truth that I am just a man, often naked – nothing more, nothing less. So why do I write? For whom am I writing?

As Shantideva said so long ago, “to sustain my understanding.” I get to understand physically, visually, and psychologically that I am me in a time called now, a being that is not to be weighed with judgements. This is something that I need to meditate upon.

Wandering in the Wilderness With My Clothes On

Putting the Buddha fountain away before freezing weather arrives.

The title of today’s blog post could be seen as misleading, especially because of the word, wilderness. I haven’t posted here for some time and it has mostly to do with mood and energy levels. For the past four weeks, the weather has been unseasonably cool with temperatures often in the single digits [Celsius]. Yesterday, there was a break in the cloud cover allowing the temperature to soar to 13 C. I took advantage of the small window of opportunity to spend about a half hour outside without clothing. I emptied the Buddha fountain and placed it in the garage for safe keeping over the winter. Then, I simply sat still in a protected area to soak in the sunshine before the clouds rolled back in which they did before too many more minutes passed.

More than anything, it has been the dreariness and lack of sunshine – cloud cover, smoke-filled skies – that have me coping with a loss of energy. It is almost as if I am suffering a seasonal-affective disorder -S.A.D. The wilderness was an inner landscape that denied me access to a more expansive inner world of imagination, creativity, and connection with the muses. I didn’t even have the ambition or desire to meditate.

The S.A.D. experience left me listless when it came to writing or taking photos. Added to the influences of weather and mood was a road trip to be with my son’s family. My wife and I were baby-sitters for a week for his two children [eight and one] and two dogs. For them, I had enough energy to invest in being grandfather. When each day was done with the last one in bed, I soon followed suit with no energy left to even watch TV. My wife and I returned to our home two days ago and found ourselves immersed in catching up with harvesting the garden and putting up produce for winter consumption. Again we filled our daytime hours only to be drained come the night time.

Today, as I write this just prior to our midday meal, the sky is grey, the temperature is 8 Celsius, and there is a faint hint of a shower in progress. A few moments ago, I took our squash off the garden to store in the protected garage for the remainder of the autumn. I have hedge trimming, and cedar trimming to do before too many more days pass. My hope is that I get a few more windows of sunshine so that I can do some of these yard tasks nude.

I guess I must be getting acclimatised to the greyness as the words are once again beginning to flow.