Nu comme le jour où je suis né

Month: June 2015

Green Haven Sun Club

At the club house

The quality of this photo is not what I am normally used to, however, for an image from a small tablet camera, it is more than good enough for today’s post. My recent silence has had everything to do with being at Green Haven Sun Club, a naturist/nudist campground almost five hours away from my home in western Saskatchewan. The campgrounds are about a half hour east of Regina. We arrived at Green Haven early on Wednesday to be greeted with sunshine and a welcome from others we know who were already on site. This was our third visit to Green Haven as a couple.

For five days, we lived without clothing and were blessed with warm/hot temperatures and almost too much sunshine. This was our first visit that included a week-end, so we got to see new people arrive on the site and in the process made some new friendships. The experience reinforced the idea that Green Haven was a community, a prairie community that mirrored other prairie communities. The same problems and the same positive qualities were present. The only difference was that at Green Haven everyone was naked. And with the exception of a small number, most returned to their home communities and the jobs they had their whether that was to farm, to sell real estate, engage in construction, or do some accounting.

Like any other time we have gone camping, we cooked outdoors, ate outdoors, played a few games outdoors, read outdoors, and spent some time simply relaxing in the sun – this is camping life in Canada whether one is at a textile campground or a naturist campground. The difference with camping at Green Haven was the lack of barriers which allowed new people to have connections quickly develop with the others in the campground. If any felt excluded, it was by choice, not by the intention of others in the campground. However, unlike most times we have gone camping, this time there basically was no laundry to do when we got home.

Father’s Day 2015

Today is Father’s Day and it is the longest day of the year, the official start of summer in the northern hemisphere. Looking ahead, we know it is all down hill from this point as days get begin to get shorter. In spite of that knowledge, of that premonition of endings, we typically enter fully into life through our relationships. In the spring time of our life, we entered into our first relationships outside of family as though drawn to buried treasure, to the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow – we fall into love. Now, in the summer we are cultivating those early promises of spring into our own families, becoming fathers and mothers. The relationship of man with woman is overshadowed by building relationships with children and the communities in which our children are forged.

I think of my relationship with my father, my grandfathers and uncles, and other adult males who added their own voices and presences into my life. Out of that swirling mass of masculinity, i navigated unconsciously fashioning my own unique presence as a male as each young boy must do. We talk of absent fathers, but there is no such thing when one looks more deeply into one’s life. Even absence works powerfully on development – there is no vacuum. Other men, related biologically or simply related only by presence become fathers as well regardless of our need or their intention. Each of them offers us some sort of template for being a man; each of them combined shows us the breadth of what the archetypal father, a image that lets us find a grounding in our masculinity if we could dare to explore the depths of that image, of the archetype.

That masculine archetype is not limited to fathers. All males find their essence and infinite variety in the archetype – king, fool, lover, magician, warrior, sage, villain, and so much more. It isn’t simply about being born a male with a penis and testicles, it is about the surging life force that wills itself to become conscious of self and other.

Now, today, I realise that I am a father, a grandfather, an uncle and one of those other adult males that takes his place in the pulsing archetype of “man” in which today’s and tomorrow’s boys will connect with as they make their own personal journeys to become men. I find that I am related to all other men in my senior years – their simple presence in life as males is all it takes. Each male I get to know, and those who exist in various degrees of distance – all are part of that fabric of what it is to be a man, the good and the bad. We cannot deny our relationship to each other in spite of our protests, our hatreds, our wounds, our longings, and our hero worship. We are all one.

Hesitation At The Gate

Hesitation

On one’s journey of individuation, one journey’s away from the collective into an inner landscape that tests one to the limits. There is no one to stand in front or beside to offer help and protection. It is a solitary journey filled with all the hazards, ghosts and monsters that have been buried, denied and forgotten. There is no suit of armor that one can wear for protection. It is as though one is forced to venture forth naked.

I want to look at this Jungian view of becoming a more conscious individual in the microcosm of myself as author here in my tiny community of just over 500 souls. Some of the community, not many, have known of my nude tendencies for a few years. The rest of the community simply know me as a quiet person who once was the principal in the community’s school. With the sale of my “Broken Road” series books, many now know so much more about who I am and my history. Almost fifty books have sold in this town, including a few copies of my Naked Poetry books. And now, three of my books (not the Naked Poetry books) have been placed in the community library.

The neighbour who lives in the house to the right of the driveway outside of my garden gate owns all of my books including the poetry books. She wants to arrange for a few local and regional papers to meet with me in order to get my stories out to more people with the idea of having more of my books sold. There is a slight hesitation on my part as it would mean that my quiet, almost invisible existence in the community would be over.

And so, I find myself standing at the gate wondering if I dare to step out of the safety of my private garden and let everyone see all the warts and wounds that have carved what has become the man I am today.

Hiding in the shadows

Naturists, or nudists if you prefer are often their own worst enemy. Why do I say such a thing when the community talks about authenticity and about honesty as the trademarks of baring it all to the world. It’s a proclamation that there are no secrets to hide anymore. Yet, is this the truth? Unless you are in a secure compound, safely hidden away from the eyes of the public (or safely hiding from that public) in North America, stripping off clothes in order to spend a part of the day becomes an almost subversive act.

Are the draperies closed? If not, can anyone see inside and see the naked person? These are valid questions to ask oneself where nudity can result in fairly serious consequences. With the draperies closed or being in a location within the home where passersby will not be able to see nudity, one becomes “safe” in terms of practicing a nude lifestyle. Yet, as I said above – something else enters the picture which causes problems for both the naked person and others. Or perhaps I should say someone else enters the picture – an alter self. There is a challenge, a daring that has the person become potentially seen by others outside the home.

Risking exposure down a back lane

And the daring begins to extend to outdoor locations that are “almost” remote. It seems that as each boundary is tested and passed, a new boundary is set that needs to be tested – putting garbage out on the curb in front of the house, sitting in the back yard in an almost secluded corner, mowing a part of the lawn, quick entrances and exits into more challenging, more public spaces where being nude would unquestionably result in legal charges if caught. It doesn’t matter whether one takes the risks at home or in nature settings, it is all about risk while knowing the consequences – taunting the world while daring to expose a side of oneself that has its own agenda, an agenda that is not so altruistic, so honest.

One place this shows up is at events where nudity is marginally accepted by a clothed public, events such as Naked Bike Rides. Nudity is also tolerated by the public to a certain degree on beaches that are designated as clothing optional. But that toleration is subject to severe scrutiny to ensure that all sexual connotations are absent. Yet, in spite of these expectations, there are those who dare to take their nudity an extra fifty metres further down the beach to again find the “real” limits. And as was the fact at a recent Naked Bike Ride, public furor erupted when a man was spotted with an erection while riding his bike in the event.

I have my own version of being subversive, heading out into the prairie hills not far from tilled fields. Of course, I choose when and where the hiking shorts come off for I really don’t want to find myself in legal trouble. Yet, the risk is there, it is always there. What risks do you take? In spite of your potential protests, I think there are small risks lurking there in the background just waiting for you to let your guard down.

The Problem of Nudist Fundamentalism

A gift of water

Today’s photo was taken a couple of days ago when the temperatures were almost summer-like and when we were experiencing a long dry spell. The weather has since cooled off considerably and rain has fallen with the promise of more in the coming days. This is all good as far as our garden and lawn is concerned and more than good for the farmers who were beginning to think they would lose their young crops to drought.

I love the days when I can go without the need to wear clothing, to be in the yard doing small things or simply to sit and enjoy the birds and the warm sunshine. Yet, when the sunshine turns to intense and blinding light that sears everything in sight, a retreat into shade and cool conditions is a welcome change, even if it means putting on clothing. I also treasure these private days and moments when my nudity offends no one because I am alone with no others around. Yet, after a while, I want and even need others around me, if only for a few minutes or hours. At those times, I again put on clothing to make sure that all is okay with friends and neighbours and even with passing strangers.

Fundamentalism causes problems, intrapersonal and interpersonal problems regardless of the nature and source of the rigid belief system. Religion, politics, lifestyle, food choices – they all serve to separate and create divisions. In the world of naturism, there exists the same problem, fundamentalist naturism or nudism. The debates rage online as to who is a true nudist or naturist as if there is a set of commandments carved into stone that require extreme diligence and maintenance in order to be acknowledged as “pure.” With this fundamentalist ideology, lines are drawn and flags are flown serving notice that “we” will not rest until all are “converted” into the true beliefs. Yet even within these small and exclusive enclaves, there is dissension.

And we wonder why the numbers of acknowledged naturists / nudists continues to decline in spite of the fact that more and more people are experiencing being in their natural state. Free-range naturism; where membership is limited to simply removing clothing whether alone at home or in an isolated nature location, taking part in an event such as a Naked Bike Ride or Naked Gardening, spending a week or two at a naturist resort, or finding a like-minded partner to go skinny dipping; is on the rise.

Is naturism, being a naturist an all or nothing proposition? Is it necessary to be nude 24/7? Is there a minimum amount of time per day required? And, who is to set these arbitrary rules? The truth is, it is always an individual choice, an individual’s self-definition that is the most important criteria. No two humans are exactly alike nor can they be defined in any way to be purely anything

It’s Not Exhibitionism

Meditation on a private deck

It is a cool and cloudy day this morning as I write this post. Still, it didn’t prevent me from being able to meditate on our back deck, skyclad. This isn’t an issue between my non-naturist wife and myself. Since no one sees me meditating and I meditate nude indoors as well, she doesn’t view this as my being an exhibitionist. Meditation does centre me so that I don’t get too reactive to stressors. Of course, when circumstances demand it, I do meditate while clothed as well.

Our daily walking into the countryside and back, varying our distances and directions has made me a lot stronger and more fit than when I was in the last decade of my career in education. I still do too much sitting at the keyboard writing. Still, that time (like now) has its own rewards. I have books in print to show for my efforts, books that are worth the paper they have been printed on according to those who have read one or more of the books and spoken to me about them. I imagine others could care less about the words and simply want to look at the photos.

The time for beginning our walk through northern Spain on the Camino, is drawing closer. I think we have everything we will be carrying with all of it fitted into our backpacks and weighed. Luckily, we still have time and weight to spare in case we have forgotten something.

Prairie Suns and a Game of Bunnock

Playing bunnock with my wife as my partner.

My wife and I got to spend a warm sunny early June day with a group that go by the name of Prairie Sun’s Nudist Club. It was our second time visiting with the president and his wife, as well as ten other people for a potluck outdoor social. This is the kind of event that is typical on the Canadian prairies with the one exception that no one at this event was wearing any clothing.

Our host had a large swimming pool available for use, however the greatest attraction was an event called Bunnock, a game played with artificial horse ankle bones. My wife and I finished off numerous games earning the title of champions as we went undefeated. I would have to think that the others were too distracted by my good looks thus giving us the advantage.

As with all naturist ventures, I didn’t bring my camera. However, the club president did take photos once the others gave him permission. He intends to create a history book of the club with photos which will talk about the club as well as naturism on the prairies in general. When I spend time at the acreage in the future, we will be having our own mini writing workshops while skyclad. I cropped this image at my wife’s request.

It was interesting getting to know new people. Of the twelve others attending, we had only met three in the past. Three new couples were in attendance as well as three single guys of various ages. Our hosts made all of us feel welcome at their acreage called Pair-a-Dice Acres. I was invited to come as often as I wanted with my small camping trailer to enjoy naturist retreats for my writing. I have a plan, but it will find me making the journey back to Pair-a-dice alone.

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