When The Wind Blows A Healthy Tree Bends

Windy old weather, stormy old weather, when the wind blows we'll all go together

Windy old weather, stormy old weather, when the wind blows we’ll all go together – Clancy Brothers

The wind is blowing fiercely and the temperature has plummeted and dawn came with dark skies simply becoming less dark. There was no sunrise that could be observed. A dull grayness hovers over everything. It seems that the weather is trying to tell me something – get your clothes on! Being in a house with central heating I can safely remain clothes-free and get away with it; that is, as long as I don’t want to go outside for a walk.

My writing project is coming along fairly well. I was able to write just over 5,000 words over the first three days of October – well, two actually as one of those days was spent driving. I am getting into the habit of writing with more focus, in part because of the weather and in part because my grandchildren go to school giving me hours of free time during the day.  I hope the weather improves as two of my grandsons have football games scheduled for Saturday. I did get two watch a game last night as the eldest of the three boys got to play under the lights as the forecasted rain stayed away.

As a naturist, I love being naked. If the weather conditions were perfect, I would likely choose to be naked most of the hours of most days; most, but not all of them. It isn’t all about the weather. There are other conditions, other considerations that enter into the picture. One tends to think in black and white terms and make decisions accordingly. The idea of pure naturists is just one example of black and white thinking, where one is hell bent on proving that “I am right, am pure, am part of the chosen.” It is as though we enter attitudes where, if given power, we would make the whole world in our own image, homogenized. Anything different is wrong.  Yes, this fundamentalist thinking exists even among naturists.

One example of fundamentalist thinking that is particularly harmful to the human psyche is the notion that we can separate sexuality from nudity. If we are truly honest, we have to admit that we can’t separate sexuality from being human. So many religions have made a holy mission of convincing people that sexuality is evil. There is an irrational belief that if we could only exist as spirit even though we have bodies that have emerged out of the dirt, the messy clay of the earth, then we would be worthy enough for God or whatever name our leaders choose to give to the source of creation and life. In spite of our own experience that out of mess comes beautiful and pure life (ask any parent moments after a child is born), we negate our experience and then teach these beautiful young children that their bodies have somehow lost their holiness and have become symbols of the dark forces of evil. Sex becomes dirty. The sexual organs become offensive and even dangerous.

Our children are then left to wrestle with their own bodies as they change and mature. The only advice we have for our children through all of this is to tell them that it is a curse, or that to touch themselves is dirty and perverted. There is no bending, only a staunch, unflexing puritanical ethic that embraces fear as only way for children to move into adulthood. Fundamentalism – no bending with the wind.


6 thoughts on “When The Wind Blows A Healthy Tree Bends

  1. Beautiful photo none the less …. I was present at the birth of my children and my emotions were not what I expected …..Some men describe this as ” the most beautiful …” I felt it was something more organic … less spiritual , until the moment that the breath arrived , then life became present . Still holds a bit of mystery as we are both sexual and spiritual …the nature of the soul ….the timeless nature of the soul are the psyche and the soul one ….
    reading Hollis , the second half of life and finding some wonderful insights as well as explanations for my frustrations and patterns of thought . I’ve been working on change for some time now ….I expect I will continue and be grateful for the moments when I feel unburdened and present in my own soul .
    I’m wondering what brought you to naturism ….and how you reconcile this with your professional identity . Perhaps I’m getting to personal and if you would rather not explain , I understand …..maybe this is the wrong format .


    • What brought me to naturism? Well, in a way, that is what the novel is hoping to answer. As for reconciling this with my professional identity, this is partly answered in older posts here and is the topic of another book in progress, a more academic book on nude psychology.


  2. Robert, it’s been a while since I’ve responded to one of your posts: sorry! I’ve been teaching this fall, and much of my time is spent preparing lectures and reading and commenting on student writing. (I’d do the prep and reading-responding naked if I could but, unfortunately, I’m in also in a rather unusual living situation this fall.)

    But, yes, I think there is such a thing as “nudist fundamentalism,” and one of the places where it shows itself is in black and white thinking around sexuality: we are so bent on resisting the idea that “if you get naked you’re going to be sexual” that we insist that “nudism has nothing to do with sexuality.”

    One of my hopes for “conscious naturism” is that we will grow to understand that, “Yes, we are sexual creatures, because we are human creatures” (you said that well), but we will also understand that “though we understand ourselves to be sexual creatures, ‘even’ when naked,” nonetheless, we do not “act out” our sexuality: we may “act on” it, however, but in such a way that we do not flaunt our sexuality (unconsciously or aggressively) but learn to let it show itself in a more healthy, vibrant sensuality.

    Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful and thought-provoking writing.



  3. On the issue of fundamentalism I always think of Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis’ statement:

    “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality.
    Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”
    (Available as a bookmark, poster, or card from Syracuse Cultural Workers!)

    Whether religions, politics, art or naturism, the fundamentalist mindset does appear to be an unshakable belief that everyone else just got it either horribly wrong or just a bit wrong, but are in fact “failed attempts at being you”, which is of course the only correct way to “be”.

    Naturists are in the minority and as I have speculated may be carriers of a genetic mutation so black/white absolutism is indeed humorous. Naturists are in a constant state of negotiation with the culture that they are a part of. Some cultures may be more tolerant, others downright hostile. However, like all minorities, particularly those seen as deviant by many, life is a matter of negotiating safe physical locations and negotiating acceptance with family, friends and neighbours. Even acceptance will often be with the understanding that one keeps one’s naturism to oneself. It certainly does not mean that everyone else is going to enthusiastically join in.

    “Conversion”, the goal of every fundamentalist is a pipe dream but one that reinforces the “failure to become me” belief.

    With regard to sexuality and social nudity, I think that sexuality is always present and what is going on in the recesses or maybe not so recessed areas of our brain does not express itself physically in social nudity because there is the fear of embarrassment. From personal experience, after a very short time the new normal in a social nudity context is quite amazing and although one enjoys the freedom and sensuality of being nude in the open air or skinny dipping, the “social” context rather than being sexual is an appreciation that everyone else is enjoying the special experience of the sensuality and freedom of being nude, not necessarily or essentially because there are others around. Attempts to explain this to others however is from my experience a futile exercise. If the individual cannot believe that it really is not the big deal it seems and that in fact the “deal” vaporizes in minutes, then they will never make the attempt.

    The fear of sexuality where there should be the joy and delicious fun of sexuality is indeed a terrible consequence of most cultures. Anthropologically there may be valid explanations for this suppression of sexuality and the debasing of the body over spirit but it so ingrained in many cultures it is unlikely to ever change substantially.


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