Knocking on a Naturist’s Door

Welcome to my home

Welcome to my world

If you were to come to my home on the Canadian prairies, you would be more than welcome to enter so that we could get to know each other better. Though there is a doorbell button beside the door, it doesn’t work. I disabled it quite some time ago and have never gotten around to fixing it for some reason or other. So, you would have to knock, perhaps a bit louder than you would normally knock for I am losing some of my hearing and I don’t always have my hearing aids in place.

For those who are neighbours and friends, the door is unlocked and there is no hesitation in opening the door and calling out to see if anyone is inside, a wise move as I am often in the back yard. Another reason for calling out, is to alert me that perhaps I should get some clothes on. My neighbours know I rarely have clothing on when I am in the house – well, with the exception when I am in my robe while the house warms up after a cool night which has dropped the house temperature.

However for others, the knocking does give me a bit of time to put on the robe, or to dress in a pair of shorts before answering the door. My penchant for being nude is not meant to be confrontational with the world at large. I am not an activist as I have learned long ago that I can’t change people’s minds until they are already halfway their themselves. Any good therapist knows that you can’t heal another until they are ready to be healed, which is pretty much the same thing. So, when I answer the door for strangers, I am cloaked in camouflage, hiding the true nature of who and what I am.

So, if you intend on visiting me, give me a heads up so that I can decide just how I will answer the knock on the door.

Taking Out the Trash – Naked

DSC03815 (354x400).jpgThe day started out a bit dreary, but pleasant enough for me. Since it is Monday, it is garbage day. I have to get the bin placed alongside the pavement before seven in the morning, a time when not many are out and about on the street.

I was just reading an old (September 2011) Psychology Today article about how creativity needs one to frequently take out the trash. I have been struggling with “taking out the trash” as I re-write the third René Beauchemin novel, and it is causing what lies there waiting for me to begin stinking like some old dirty diapers, or rancid food.

DSC03816 (357x400).jpgI take out the trash in our home. It is just the way it is. The division of labour has worked itself out along traditional, almost gender lines. Taking out the trash is a man’s job. I don’t protest or even mind having this chore. If I lived alone, I would have all of the chores to do and thus have less time for writing, photography, or wasting away on social media. The idea that somehow, creativity is associated with taking out the trash is something that had never occurred to me. I mean – who would have ever thought about it that way.

Still, it does make sense. More than one writing effort has met the garbage can, literally or figuratively (trash icon on my computer). At certain times in my life, paper drafts and journals found their way into a burning barrel. What had been written “Stunk” and it needed to be disposed of so that there was room in my head for something that would perhaps deserve to published or carefully placed into my archives for future reference.

DSC03817 (400x266).jpgOf course, taking out the garbage nude is pure nonsense in our modern western world. The risks don’t seem to be worth taking this kind of chance. But, when it comes to writing, having one’s words parade naked and vulnerable is precisely what is needed. It becomes much easier to spot the garbage when the camouflage of flowery language, or overly complex sentences, or twisted and complicated plots hides the truth that the story actually stinks.

Hmmm … now that is a lesson that I need to reconsider as I return to my rewrite.

Negotiating For More Naked Space

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Changing bathroom lighting fixture.

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.

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 proselytise 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.

Fundamental Nudism and the Lack of Common Sense

A chilly morning on the prairies

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.

Nude Musings and Music from the Past

Music from the past

This is a student guitar I picked up forty years ago to go with my twelve string guitar and my classical guitar at that time. I had thought I would teach others to play having abandoned playing for money in coffee houses because I had become an teacher and principal with my first child born and a second one on the way. The guitar was passed down to my children who let it sit unused, playing piano instead. Then it made the rounds of all six of my grandsons who have also left it to sit in its battered case.

I picked it up from behind the sofa in the basement of my son’s house. My youngest grandson had shown some interest last year, but that has waned. It didn’t take long to tune it and play. I remembered the fingering as well as the intricate patterns of an old Long John Baldry song, as well as an old Gordon Lightfoot song. However, it didn’t last long as it has been years since I have played. Being a musician is not one of my present ways of being. In the distant past, I played folk music venues through much of Canada, as well as playing as an extra in various bars and dance halls.

Today, my music is found in the words that I write. Yet, at times, I feel the pull to return to playing. I know that all that it would do would be to frustrate me to no end. For, the time I would invest in playing would be time stolen from writing with the result that neither the music nor the writing would satisfy. And so, I put the guitar back in its case and turned to the keyboard and the stories that were waiting there for me to write.

You Don't Have to be Naked Alone

In a Canadian private garden

In a few days, Saturday, August 5th,  it will be National Be Naked Day in the United Kingdom. We had our National Nude Day in Canada in July. And we all celebrated Naked Gardening Day in May. It seems we don’t need much of an excuse to get our clothing off. The truth is, no excuse is needed. Life just seems better when clothing free.

I know that for myself, anytime I can be outdoors in the sunshine without my clothes on, the better I feel about myself. If I find my time for naked freedom limited, I feel stressed and my mood deteriorates so that I am less carefree, smiling less. It’s not that I turn into a grumpy old man. Rather, it is more about nuances.

I have three of my grandchildren down for a week, and prior to that, I had all seven grandchildren and their parents here for almost a week. During these times, being clothing-free is a rarity. Yet, the sheer energy and enthusiasm of my family keeps my mood up. The same can’t be said when it is weather that forces me to have my clothes on should I venture outdoors.

In an English public garden.

I am not alone when it comes to having these needs for nude time, for sun time. I somehow have the feeling that for most of my friends in the United Kingdom, the limiting of sun time with its associated nude time, is exasperating. The number of days for warmth and sunshine is much more limited than my time skyclad outdoors on the prairies. Another factor limiting nude time is where one is in their lifespan. Those invested in careers or young families, find their time even more circumscribed.

So, with time, regardless of where one lives, limited, becoming part of a larger group such as British Naturism of the Federation of Canadian Naturism, allows us to fill in the spots we are able to carve out for ourselves so that we can share what we love with others who want nude time. Social naturism or nudism allows us to feel connected as naturists, rather than being the odd person out in a predominantly textile society. I encourage you to find out about your national group or nudist resort and make the commitment to honour your preference for being nude when possible and practical. You won’t be disappointed.

Nakedness and Reducing Stress

Stress reduction by simply being outdoors, skyclad.

The grandkids are here – the three youngest grandsons to be exact. The excitement begins each day no later than 6:30 in the morning as the youngest comes into our room. There is no pretending to be asleep so I send him to the kitchen to put on the coffee. He’s gone just long enough for me to put on some pyjama bottoms and then engage with him in a game or two before he declares that he is hungry for some breakfast.

The two of us stay busy until his cousins wake up an hour and a half later, at which time, I am left in the dust so he could play with his older cousins. When all finally have breakfast, I have a bird house building project that is meant to keep them busy for much of the morning. Less than an hour later, the task is done. And no, they don’t want to paint their birdhouses. So, up they go onto the fence with the other bird houses built by the oldest three grandsons who aren’t part of the present action.

It’s a cool morning with occasional threats of light showers that persuade the boys to play games in the house. Occasionally I win – occasionally. And now, they are with Grandma at the pool while I get some time to myself. Naturally, I waste no time in losing my clothes and just relaxing. Outdoors I go and allow my whole body to breathe. Soon, the boys will be back and it will be full-steam ahead until bed time. I love being a grandfather.