Today is round two of making jerky. Yesterday I experimented with lean, ground beef with good results. There were only a few changes needed, a bit more seasonings, and a little less salt for my taste. So, yesterday afternoon, I ground up a kilogram of deer meat and then added the seasoning so that it could sit overnight in the refrigerator for this morning’s session of making the mixture into jerky.
All of this was in response to my children’s request for jerky, deer jerky in particular. It has been a few years since my last attempt, so I took my time to hopefully make it just right. If all turns out well, there will be a lot more jerky made during the autumn, especially if one of my grandsons gets another deer during hunting season.
In this age of many moving to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, and with my having become a Buddhist, I wonder why meat has remained such a significant part of my diet. And by significant, I mean in importance, not in quantity. After all, shouldn’t I be more environmentally conscious and respectful of all life? Well, the truth is, I am very respectful for all life forms. Like my First Nations ancestors, I know that I eat meat as a gift from both the animal whose life was sacrificed, and the universe which provided the animal with life. I don’t take meat for granted whether it is pork, beef, venison, fish, or any other life form that finds its way onto my plate.
Am I rationalising? I don’t think so. I grew up very poor when meat made rare appearances on our plates. My family had abandoned its rural roots and never did quite fit into urban life regardless of two generations of effort. When I did learn about hunting as a teenager, it was always about the meat, not the sport. And that, is a philosophy I carried with me throughout the years as I provided for my own family. Now, I only hunt with my camera and leave the hunting for meat to my grandchildren.
My life isn’t totally spent outdoors while nude when there is sunshine. As with most other people, I do have to do other things even if the sun is shining such as today’s projects of making some beef jerky and changing a bathroom light fixture. Of course, those things can be done while nude as can almost everything that I find I need to do around the house and yard.
Outside of our home and garden, it is a different story. I don’t live in southern Spain or other naturist friendly location. So when I go out to buy a new lighting fixture, or to deliver more books to a bookstore, or take my wife out to have lunch, I wear clothing. It is what it is and I accept that – well, for the most part. When I do go outside of these boundaries, it is always very, very early in the morning when most of the world is still sleeping. Calculated risks.
It is with that understanding of the world within which I live, that I search for what is possible for my preferred state – nude. And it is also this understanding that I find myself using as I write my novels. The characters within the stories need to reflect the “real” world even though many of my characters are naturists. Not many live in isolation from the larger world. Most of us who attempt to live as naturists need to interact with others who are not naturists, or accepting of nudity period. Naturally, there will be conflict when others either learn of our preferences for nudity, or when we step to far into the public eye while nude.
So how does one lessen the degree and the amount of conflict with others who want us to keep our clothes on? Well, the best answer is to let all around you know about your being a naturist, explaining if asked, why. That way, if they “accidentally” see you nude in your yard, or in your home through a window, there will be less “shock” leading to a gut level response. Since I have published books about my history, which included the therapeutic need for nudity, especially in nature, most in my home community “know” I am often nude, even if they haven’t seen me. As long as I don’t impose on them, try to proselytize and persuade them to also become naturists, tension is kept to a minimum. And so, I get more space in my yard and home, to be nude.
This is not the best kind of image for promoting the philosophy of naturism. However, it is a very real image of how one copes with the weather here on the prairies this morning. It was only 8 Celsius with a breeze and very heavy dew when I took this photo of myself. I was outside before the sun’s rays had reached our back deck which meant that I wore a robe.
This is “normal” whether I am alone or having coffee on the deck with my wife, normal that is until it warms up enough for me to remove the robe, typically when the sun’s rays peek over the neighbour’s trees to flood the deck with warm, healing light.
I don’t pretend that it is possible to remain nude all the time at home here on the prairies. On morning’s such as this, even though it is the middle of summer, that I add warmth via some sort of clothing, or stay in the house and turn up the temperature. Since I love being outside, being forced to stay inside with central heating is akin to being imprisoned. So, like my ancestors of the distant past, I use coverings to retain my body heat.
So, what’s the point of telling all of this, a rather boring piece if I say so myself? It is simply a preamble to what I call “fundamentalist thinking” on the part of a number of people who claim to be naturists or nudists. They see themselves as purists as they spend every hour in every day, nude. Of course, they live in a different world than I do. Weather isn’t a factor, or else they rarely venture outdoors when weather conditions are not favourable to being nude. For these fundamentalist nudists, their nudity becomes a badge of honour, behind which they hide their insecurities. They use their self-proclaimed authority as “purists” to judge others much the same as those who wear obscenely expensive clothing and accessories to stand above others. Camouflage is camouflage – hiding the vulnerable self and coming to believe that their camouflage is their only self. No matter how one looks at it, fundamentalist thinking is self-deceit.
So, in an attempt to be real and rational, I do my best to remain present in the outer world which requires that I pay attention to the natural world and the human society around me. Only then can I make choices for when and where I can be fully nude.