I walked from Longpré-les-Corps-Saints to the village of Long yesterday. Both villages are prominent in my family’s history, the first village most obviously so as it bears my family name. However, the family was first found in the village of Long as far as my records show. It seems that the Lord of the scattered villages went by various names, each name fitting in with the village owned – Lord of Long, Lord of Longpré, Lord of Fontaine, etc.
My family’s history in this area ended in the 14th Century when the title passed on to a different family. Today, a mansion otherwise known as the Chateau de Long, stands as a reminder of pre-revolutionary France. Today’s photos were taken in the courtyard of the Chateau. I felt right at home with what I saw. The only thing I wondered about was just how bad the mosquitoes would have been in season along the Somme River.
More about Rouen that I found interesting from a naturist’s perspective. There is a hill called Saint Catherine’s hill, actually a very small mountain that rises 159 metres or just over 500 feet above the city. At the top there is nothing but trees and trails.
While walking these trails, I imagined how easily it could be walked as a naturist hike. We were the only ones walking the trails at the top of the hill. It seemed as though everyone else was content to stop at the look-out. Since I was with my spouse, I didn’t take advantage of the isolation to enjoy time in the sun, nude.
This morning, we walked through the Jardin des Plantes on the opposite side of the river where I saw this statue. A final offering here is a scene found in the Museum of Antiquities, a piece from a church. It is interesting to me how there are so many scenes with naked peasants doing work, or nude warriors fighting, or naked boys honouring robed church leaders. Nudity doesn’t seem to be an issue in so many of these scenes.
Now, it’s time to head to Amiens, Picardy, France.
When this post appears, I will be in France, taking a train to our first destination in Saint Malo. Today, I spend a few hours in the morning, just before the rain that was forecast to fall, cleaning up and putting away in storage, all the ornaments including the two Buddhas. Now, the back yard is as bare as I am. We expect to return just before the onset of winter, but winter has been known to set in earlier than that return date. I have no interest in trying to do the same work in snow and freezing temperatures.
With the likelihood of no opportunities to be nude in nature for the next four months, I will likely lose the tan before we head to Ecuador in early January for another three months of sun, sand, and surf. However, that doesn’t mean there will be no opportunities for being clothing free.
I read an interesting article in the New Yorker this morning, What if We Stopped Pretending, by Jonathan Franzen. In a way, it paints a very pessimistic picture about the not-too-distant future due to climate crisis. However, by the time I reached the end of the article, I began to see it all from a different point of view, one that could almost be called, hopeful. We have already passed the point of no return when it comes to the climate crisis. All that remains to be seen is when we feel the full impact of that crisis. Franzen lays out a saner approach to the issues that will drastically change our world and our societies, issues that are already present.
As I read, I wondered about the naturist world looking at the future in the same logical manner and if we would stop pretending that we can proactively change the world to be more accepting of naturism. As a movement and lifestyle, we are not advancing the cause at all. If anything, we are slipping backwards. We can’t help but slip backwards as the rest of the world is getting more frustrated and angry with how their “normal” world is in peril. So, perhaps this is a good time to rethink the future. One positive, a warmer planet makes for a saner choice for less or no clothing.
I am 70 years of age. My sexual desire remains in place though I have to admit, it is not as strong as it had been in the past. Well, that is a different way to begin a blog post for me. Normally, I would stay as far away from the sexual dimension of naturism and nudism as possible. After all, if naturism is to ever become normalised, it needs to lose the assumption that nudity equates to sex. As I said above, as an older male, I still retain a healthy appreciation for conjugal relations. Luckily, I am still married to the woman I love. Perhaps this is the reason for continued desire, perhaps not.
Regardless of my intention to present images of naturism in a normalised fashion, images such as today’s photo, too many men especially, take these images as invitations for sexual gratification. Even when I crop the images, such as I have here, the porn hounds swarm like bees. I literally have had to block thousands on my Twitter site and 4 out of 5 who try to follow me on Flickr. As a result, I have reduced my Flickr photostream to around 40 photos, and that is likely to be decreased even more so that no photo that is left would cause an issue, even on Facebook. I can’t imagine what it must be like for a woman who is a naturist or nudist at heart.
Now to be honest, men have a greater level of sexual desire which lasts longer in their lives, than women. Here is a good article to explain the facts about sexual desire for those who would dispute my thoughts here. As many men age, there also appears to be a re-emergence of sexual desire towards members of the same gender without loss of their sexual desire for women with the result that there is some confusion about sexual identity. Gay versus bi-sexual identity issues arise though not necessarily acted out. Now with the plethora of nude images, the fascination that other bodies, both male and female appear to be stoked. And inner confusion escalates.
The safest place to act out this confusion, the fantasies, and the possibilities is in the online world of social media. There is a reason why naturism will likely never become the norm, or accepted as a much as homosexuality has been accepted. That reason is the fact that we are hardwired as sexual beings with our skin being the largest sexual organ. Do you agree or disagree with this thesis? I look forward to hearing your thoughts as I am by no means, an expert in this field.
Yes, in three days I will be boarding a plane with the destination being Paris, France in order to spend just over six weeks in northwestern Europe. Naturally, there is a lot that is keeping me busy in terms of preparation for this adventure, including mowing the lawns and preparing our home and yard for the approach of winter. We have arranged for a neighbour to mow the lawns if there is a need before our return but the likelihood is usually quite low because of lower temperatures hurrying to make a presence here on the Canadian prairies. There are no nights where the temperature doesn’t drop below 10 Celsius anymore. I was fortunate to have warmish temperatures to mow our back lawn yesterday as you can see. I didn’t put it off as the forecast is for rain over the next several days. Right now, the sky is overcast and there is a strong wind blowing with the result that it feels like 6 Celsius more than an hour after sunrise with rain expected by the afternoon.
But enough of weather, what about the travels, and will there be any posts by me here? There will be posts. With the purchase of this new laptop, chosen so that it fits within my small day-hike backpack, and because I typically can find moments and places for writing, there will be posts. Will the posts contain nude images? Of course, that is an unknown. But then again, this blog site isn’t all about nude images. If I have something of interest to me, and hopefully for you, I write. For example, I am being stressed by what I am seeing on social media and how that can, and likely will, impact on my life as a Canadian naturist.
The political world is becoming darker in North America and in Europe. Tolerance for differences is waning. Voices of opposition are getting more and more strident. The solution for me is easy, turn off social media. But, is that a solution? As society devolves, the impact on naturism is negative. Rory Andrews at Rory Writes talks about the three technologies that are killing nudism. Read his blog post here. One of the biggest threats is the seemingly innocent world of photo-editing made easy with cellphone camera software ensuring that everyone can present an improved version of the “real” self. The negative effect is the growing dysmorphia, dissatisfaction with our real images of ourselves and our bodies. Dissatisfaction with our real appearance leads us to hide our bodies even more. I see the reality of this when I talk with grandson number six who is nine years old. We always video chat and he is constantly using the option of showing himself with all sorts of distracting overlays such as bunny ears, funny glasses, etc. Of course, he is only nine, so perhaps there is no dysmorphia for him.
The second, and integrally related technological threat is the cellphone camera. They are so easy to use and the quality of images is quite good, leading so many to photograph everything and everyone in their lives. Our world is being completely digitized. CCTV cameras are visible everywhere purportedly for our protection. Drones with cameras are becoming more and more common. And then there is the proliferation of nanny cams and spy cams. The result is that feeling of somebody always watching. Even smart TVs are capable of recording audio and visual data. The word of the peeping tom has entered into our homes and almost everywhere we go outside of our homes. And, it’s all done in the name of our security.
The third technology, unsurprisingly, is the porn industry. The influence of this industry has filtered into mainstream television which confirms the bias that seeing nudity, even partial nudity, is all about sex. Gymnophobia is on the rise. Taking showers at a public pool is now done with bathing suit on. Men and women hide behind towels to change out of sportswear in change rooms. Young people, especially females wear long tee-shirts over their bikinis. That personal, gut-level fear of being seen nude is being passed down to very young children who panic if someone should see them nude. Toddlers should never have a fear of being seen without a diaper/pull-up, yet this is the new reality. Parents rail against undressed manikins in store windows as being harmful to children who might see them.
It’s depressing. I don’t have any answers other than to be an authentic person who refuses to hide. What are your thoughts about these three threats to a saner world?
The skies are clear with the promise for a day of sunshine. As usual, I was up while darkness still reigned supreme. For the first hour of the day, I sat with coffee to watch the subtle shifts from black skies to predawn light. A half hour later, the sun touched the horizon, hidden behind fences, hedges, and scattered houses in this small prairie town. The light was an invitation to step outside the house even though the air was still a chilly nine degrees Celsius.
Across the street, and across the empty lot, a house has its lights on. Today is the first day of school for a new year. Normally, the lights would still be off while parents took advantage of the freedom of time and no need for rigid routines. In the summer, when at home with children, every day is Saturday. This scene is repeated in scattered homes along the streets of town. The other homes, those without children, are mostly filled with older folk, a good number of them retired. Their homes have their draperies closed and lights off. If they wake early, the lights typically remain off with a few daring to open the drapes to stare out their windows without having to worry about anyone seeing them inside their darkened homes. Who is awake and watching? Do we dare step outside of our darkened spaces and risk being seen?
My wife and I have noticed how people, in general, seem to be allergic to being seen. Morning and night, draperies remain closed. When you look at the homes themselves, there is a uniformity, even though there are tiny bits that hint at individuality that have been attempted. Even the colours are muted and copied. It is as though we hide in a sort of visible anonymity. And when we step out of our homes, we carry that sense of sameness in our choices of clothing. Again, the muted colours, the refusal to take risks and stand out as different. As a people, we struggle with being outsiders, being too visible. Being too easily seen makes on vulnerable, at least on the inside. It doesn’t matter that the community is homogeneous, sharing generations of shared history.
Yet, there are among us, the rare individuals who can’t help being outliers. Simply daring to hold a different viewpoint, to be vocal about and challenge irrationally held opinions is enough to create distance from the status quo. To dare to be seen, curiously, allows one to actually be seen. And it doesn’t result in being shunned or ostracised. To become known as “different” is a risk that for some, backfires. Yet, if one remains open, friendly, and non-judgmental to the “others” it can work out differently. One becomes tolerated as a curiosity,
But what if there is no community? What if we find ourselves in sprawling urban places where there is little evidence of neighbour? The anonymity is magnified. Differences are accentuated and not in a good way. We find ourselves insulated. And too often, we work hard to ensure that we stay anonymous, even to ourselves. The lights turned on are about function, rather than for enlightenment. We hide from ourselves in perpetual shadow.
Labour Day Monday! It’s the day that is associated with the last day of summer here in Canada. Being a country that is north of the 49th parallel, this is a fair statement to make. Overnight temperatures are now single digit numbers for the most part. We will get a warm spell or two, something that we often refer to as “Indian Summer.” I know that technically it is still summer but the reality is a different story. This is a reality that Canadian naturists have to live with forcing us to adapt and seize every possible moment for outdoor nudity.
Of course, many Canadian naturists are thick skinned. A little chill in the air is not going to chase them indoors to complain. The forecast if for scattered sunshine and warmer temperatures in the afternoon. Sunshine on Labour Day and naturists will find all kinds of reasons to be outside and naked, with or without others to share the precious moments before winter returns.