School is out for the summer on the prairies. In two days, our country will celebrate being a free, democratic country. With any luck, I will be at my first child’s home in the distant north to be with her and her husband for the long weekend. If this comes to be reality, there will be no time or opportunity to enjoy being clothing free. Canada isn’t that free. There are rules that are national, provincial, and perhaps more important, social that govern us.
As I watch the world turn while the years slip by, I see that freedom is only partial. As long as one fits in with the majority, no one cares what one does or says. Yet, that really isn’t true. There are noisy voices that cannot stand anyone being other than a clone of their beliefs and lifestyle. They want all the power and none of the responsibility. We see that in the unfolding accounts coming out of the USA with regards to the January 6th attempted coup. What to believe and what to reject? I don’t think it matters as truth is not going to disclosed on either side of the growing divide in that country.
The same is happening here in Canada. We had a “freedom convoy” that went to the nation’s capital city with the published and express purpose of taking down an elected government and replacing it with the organisers of the convoy. Their concept of freedom and freedoms lost boggles the mind, especially when the motivation is to deny the majority of Canadians their freedoms. Again, it is be like me or hit the highway. If you are too loud in your protest against us, we will threaten you with death. That is the voice of the freedom convoy as it once again makes its way to the nation’s capital.
Is the naturist community insulated or isolated from these competing visions for our North American countries? The short answer is no. In truth, we are just as divided. The only thing that we hold in common is a respect for the naked human body. The reasons for that respect are not all the same, nor should they be. That is the whole point of freedom. We don’t have to be the same, nor should any one group gain power to deny another person’s freedom.
This isn’t supposed to be a political post, but one that speaks to the complexity of being human. I don’t want power over anyone. I also don’t want anyone to have power over me. It’s that simple. I want to live as a spiritual being whose religion is nature and whose church is the Earth. We can live in peace if we want this goal.
It’s Friday morning on the Canadian prairies. It’s another grey and windy day with the temperature when I woke up at 8 Celsius. And to think that it’s the fourth day of summer according to the calendar. Brrrr!
It’s now official, I am a Director for Canadian Authors. I will find out in about two weeks just what is expected of me at the first Board meeting. Naturally, during this time of Covid, all meetings are done online via Zoom. From what I am led to believe, I will become the Regional Director for the central prairie provinces. I am still surprised that they selected me following their extensive search. Didn’t they see that I am a naturist? After all, it’s not like I have hid this blog site or my Twitter account.
More later when I know more.
Well, we got just over a half-inch of rain yesterday and overnight. It doesn’t sound like too much, but it is enough for now. The wind is up again and more rain is in the forecast. I just had to go outside to feel the rain on my body even though it was only 12 Celsius outside and a bit windy.
Getting older has its benefits. For one thing, I don’t have to rush off every morning to a workplace. That is priceless when one doesn’t have to worry about money for economic survival. My house is paid for, the car is paid for, and there are no debts. It took a long time to get to this situation. I worked for decades before taking a holiday, decades before daring to go out to a restaurant for a family meal. I am one of the lucky ones despite living in real poverty as a child and youth.
I say I don’t have any economic worries and that is the truth. However, please don’t read into that statement that I am anywhere near rich. For example, the financial community has this to say: “Retirement experts have offered various rules of thumb about how much you need to save: somewhere near $1 million, 80% to 90% of your annual pre-retirement income, 12 times your pre-retirement salary.” Well, needless to say, if this were the truth, I wouldn’t be able to retire for another – let’s see – oh my god! I’d never be able to retire.
So, how is it that I get to travel to many different countries around the world and enjoy my life? It begins with expectations. I have a small, old home that I have renovated over the two decades we have lived in the house. There is no “keeping up with the Jones’s [they live just down the block]. Home cooked meals with restaurant meals being rather scarce – we both cook. Home baked bread, soups, etc. We don’t spend a lot on fashion. Though I have a tendency to not wear clothing, I do go out in public and that requires that I be well dressed, after all in this small community, one is judged by one’s appearance, especially being the community school’s former principal.
When we travel, it is usually for an extended period of time. Plane tickets to a destination and then spend six weeks to three months in the foreign destination before the return flight home. We don’t stay in hotels. Long-term rentals in small one-bedroom or studio suites allow us to live without digging into our reserves.
In other words, the frugality we learned and lived while raising our family has continued. And, we like it that way. It feels comfortable. We don’t worry about the years to come. Que sera, sera!
It is raining, a nice constant gentle rain. The rain is encouraging me to stay indoors rather than go out for yet another walk. If the forecast is correct, tomorrow will be the same. The rain is just what the doctor ordered for my garden and lawns. The local farming community is breathing a sigh of relief as it looks as though the drought is over.
One of the downsides is the roads are becoming muddy which means that my naturist hiking trails might become impassible for Tuesday’s World Naked Hiking Day. Still, I am not ruling out the chance of going free-hiking on Tuesday, at least for a short hike.
My audio recording project is going well. I have recorded three chapters and the fourth chapter is ready for recording. This chapter will be testing my story-telling skills as I will need to have a number of voices, including that of two women. One of the things about preparing a chapter for recording is to edit the chapter. A written story often contains too much information that gets in the way of “hearing” a story.
How do I edit? Well, since it is going to be an audiobook, I use my microphone and headphones and read. I stop when something doesn’t “fit” for me as a storyteller. The result is both the same storyline and a noticeably different version of that same story.
I have a few people listening to chapters as they are produced to make sure that I don’t go too far off the storyline, and to alert me to issues of voice such as popping my p’s and b’s. Another issue I need to watch carefully is the timing. I can’t rush the flow of words as older members of the reading community need just a fraction more time to process and follow the story. Equally a problem is pacing too slow. That is where story-telling experience comes in handy – finding natural pauses [here is where commas become important].
If any of you who read here want to become a “listener” who is willing to tell me what you think, just ask and I will borrow your ears.
Oh, before I go, Happy Father’s Day to all the men who take on the role of father, not just biological fathers.
It is going to rain in a few hours according to the weather forecast. I hope to have enough time to mow the lawn which is quite shabby at this point as I have not been cutting it because of a very long dry spell. Our area has somehow missed out on the rain that has fallen outside of a twenty-five kilometre radius from the town. Perhaps today is the day.
Yesterday I went for my second massage of the year. I only had one massage last year – blame it on Covid. As always, my masseuse doesn’t require me to be draped as she works deep into my muscles. It hurts when she finds the knots, but the results are well worth the temporary pain. I have a third massage already booked for sometime in July.
Today, I am going to tackle chapter two of the audio version of the Pilgrim novel. As far as chapter one is concerned, as one listener put it, when comparing the original print version to the audio:
“I found many of the differing parts in the new, audio Chapter 1 to be an improvement over the original chapter …”
However, the review did voice that there were a few instances where the changes weren’t that successful. Overall, I take it that is going well. I am still open to having a few of you also critique the audio efforts. Just let me know by some means and I will send you the nineteen minute audio file for Chapter 1 of A Small Company of Pilgrims.
Another hike, clothing free, happened yesterday morning. At nine and a quarter kilometres, it was my longest free hike so far this year. It wasn’t supposed to be that long.
I took my usual route to reach the hills, well a bit of a longer route as I had parked my truck by an oil well that added a kilometre of walking. Once I reached the fence, I turned to walk along the fence heading east, something I had never done before. There was no path and the ground was riddled with golfer holes and larger badger holes which made the need for me to pay attention even greater than usual.
I reached an old building which I determined would be my halfway point and a good place to set up my tripod and get a few photos of the new location. Then, I packed stuff away into my small backpack and set off on the return journey. I wore my pack on my front, making sure my shorts were ready should I be surprised by someone on an ATV. As I was approaching a turn, I noticed my shorts were missing. I knew I had to backtrack and find them as they were my favourite hiking shorts and I would need them. The same thing happened to me last year during one of my hikes. I sometimes have a problem staying present in life.
I put everything down and made my way back towards the old building at a jog. I was almost back when I found the shorts. I held them securely while I jogged back to retrieve the daypack. Reaching it, I wasted no time in putting the shorts into the backpack with a light shirt. I returned to the truck without further incident. The map shows where I had to redo the route, the area in green.
Someday, I hope to finally learn to be always present in whatever I do. The problem is, that I tend to slip into walking meditation when on hikes. Maybe that is what being a pilgrim is all about.
On another note, I finished recording the first chapter of A Small Company of Pilgrims. If you want to listen to the chapter, a nineteen minute audio recording, please let me know and provide your email address so that I can send it to you. There is one condition, I need your feedback before I record chapter number two.
It’s Sunday morning here on the Canadian prairies. It rained a bit overnight, not enough but at least the dust has settled. The forecast is for another shower later this morning and then tonight when we are sleeping. It’s a good time for taking some time to think about things in general. For me, the thoughts are turning to this whole idea of blogging to the naturist community.
I have a dependable, but small number of followers who show their support. I guess I could call you my community of like-minded souls. In truth, you are the reason that the blog site continues to exist. I am not thinking of taking down the blog site, so don’t worry about it suddenly disappearing.
Somehow, over the past few days, my viewer numbers skyrocketed. My typical viewer visits hover around fifty per day. On June 6th I had 122 visits, on June 7th I had 1023 visits, on June 8th there were 528 visits, and a day later there were 184 visits. At the same time, I was inundated with hordes of porn accounts following me on Twitter – I blocked and reported as usual. However, it does bother me that this is necessary. Will a few of the new visitors find something of value other than hopefully seeing my penis exposed? Hopefully yes.
I shift back and forth between creating images that aren’t so much “in your face” with my nudity, and images that say “the hell with it.” Yet regardless of which images I use, I hope that they come across as natural images, not penis focused images. After all, it’s just a normal penis and would never give me a starring role in some porn flick. I seriously can’t think of any man or woman actually getting excited seeing any of my images.
Okay, enough with the Sunday thinking. It’s time for me to make breakfast.
Okay, I am a man. Not so long ago, I wrote about the male gaze. Then, I wondered if there was such a thing as the female gaze. My research took me to someplace I didn’t expect. The female gaze is about women looking at women, not at men. Of course women do look at men, but not in the same way. So much for a male’s proud display of his “assets.”
My wife confirmed this, sort of, with a comment about why she takes time to dress well and do her hair, etc. Since she knows that I love how she looks regardless of whether or not she is in very casual clothes or dressed to kill, she tells me she dresses for being seen by others, specifically by women. Women evaluate each other, perhaps more than men evaluate women. Why? Perhaps it is about comparing oneself to others because one is self-critical. I won’t speculate any further as that is something women need to answer, if an answer is to be found.
Yet, women do look at men in terms of deciding whether or not a man is suitable for a relationship, for mating; or more suitable to remain a friend or just as an acquaintance. When it comes to relationship material, the hair, the head, and the butt are the primary zones of interest. When it comes to the penis which men feel is vital to their identity, here is what one woman said in relationship to this:
“Penis-obsession is a male thing, not a female thing. The reason we don’t like unsolicited dick picks from random strangers is that penises, to be frank, just aren’t that attractive. Disembodied penises even less so.“
During the years that I spent in China, I learned that women chose mates with no regard for their looks or their physical assets. A career, a place to live [apartment], transportation [car preferred], and social status were the primary factors to be considered. Though I was in my sixties walking down the street with my wife beside me, a young woman hit on me suggesting that I should divorce me wife and marry her. There had to be at least a 40 year age gap. I had one extra qualification – I was a foreigner. It was an ego boost until I realised that they didn’t really see me. I was just a projection. I was objectified.
Men objectify women and women objectify men. It happens and it is predominantly a biological response. One sees it in the animal world, especially with birds who strut their stuff hoping to be chosen by a female who is ready to mate and procreate. I doubt that the male gaze can be eliminated as it is necessary for the survival of the species. However, I do think that men can behave better, much better.
I still gaze at my wife and I do catch her gazing at me. Like I said, it is hardwired into our bodies. That we still enjoy gazing in our seventies is a blessing, not a curse.
Click on this link to listen to an audio version of this blog post.
Well, so much for a third free-hike this year. The wind is gusting to more than 50 km/hr and the sun is playing peek-a-boo with most of the time spent hiding behind clouds. There was even several minutes of showers during the morning. This afternoon, the possibility of storms is growing stronger. The last thing I need is to find myself miles from nowhere where trees are strangers to the environment in a storm that could include hail. So, I stayed close to home today.
My project of turning my book, A Small Company of Pilgrims is causing me all kinds of stress and agony. In order to make it work, I find myself rewriting the story so that sentences are shorter and more concise. A few nights ago I had tried recording the first chapter at least five times with none of them working for me. I kept eliminating words or changing them in hopes that I could get a better flow. After the fifth time, I decided to rewrite the complete chapter. In the process, I think the book is becoming better. The test will come when I try to record that chapter when time allows in the next two days.
On a side note, I did get out for a second free-hike, a shorter hike of just over five kilometres. I was too tired to walk more as I had already had a good countryside walk with my wife, wearing shorts of course. Still, even though it was shorter, it was worth it. More free hikes will happen in the weeks and months to come.
Of course, my life isn’t lived always nude. I do have to go out into public. Such was the case yesterday when I travelled to the city in order to do another hearing test. I wear hearing aids and I get free annual hearing tests and hearing aid cleaning from the place I bought the hearing aids. It is what it is and I much prefer hearing what is being said, or when sitting on my deck listening to birds that seem to enjoy the water fountains and bird baths I have in the backyard.
My hearing loss wasn’t due to aging. I blame the standing on stage with big speakers flanking me while I played guitar and sang with assorted bands. I also blame the sound of my rifle made when I went target shooting or hunting. I didn’t wear protective hearing gear. I didn’t even know that such gear existed. In case you are wondering, I don’t hunt anymore. I gave my rifles to my grandsons and they repay me with occasional venison from their own hunts.
I’m a bit late with getting in my first free hike of the year and I blame it on the weather. Whenever it has been warm enough, there had been strong winds. I want to enjoy hiking au naturel, not simply do it just to say I have done it. I guess that is the guiding principle of anything and everything naturist – do it because it feels good and gives you pleasure. There are no ribbons or trophies to win by simply shedding your clothing. That said, I should get back to my naked journey of seven kilometres this morning.
I drove to the end of a dirt road and parked my small truck. I left my shorts and shirt in the truck as it was very highly unlikely that I would meet anyone once I began my hike. I opened a gate to enter an alfalfa field which would allow me to begin climbing the hills at the edge of the hay field. One of the things one needs to deal with when hiking in the prairies, is the presence of ticks. When I hike nude, I find that I rarely have an issue with ticks. As a result, I can allow my mind to relax and just enjoy being present.
It was cool when the sun disappeared behind a cloud, a coolness accented by the breeze that reminded me that I wasn’t wearing clothing. It’s strange how one adapts to cooler temperatures much better when there is no clothing between the skin and the air. It didn’t take me long to reach the hills and climb. I scared up large jackrabbits as I climbed, descended, climbed again, and skirted little bluffs of short brush.
I watched where I placed my steps as there were scattered rocks, golfer holes that could result in a twisted ankle or worse, and cactus thorns close to the ground, thorns sharp enough and long enough to pierce the soles of running shoes. As a hiker familiar with the prairie hills, I was well aware of my steps.
Once I completed a loop of the hills, I returned to a distant point and made my way back to my truck where my shorts and shirt waited patiently. It was time to leave as the skies had turned darker and threatened at least a shower. It was a good first free hike of the year.