It’s Raining and the Air is Cool

Warrior with a dangerous weapon – mosquitoes beware!

For the past few days it has been raining off and on. It plays havoc with taking long beach walks as well as a few other things. The power goes off in the fishing village, and with it the Internet. Today we lost all access to the outer world for several hours. One of the things about this weather that bugs me the most are the mosquitoes. They love exposed skin to no end, especially my exposed skin.

Today’s photo captures the scene well with the water laying on the walkway to our casa. Of course I am not really trying to kill mosquitoes with the machete. I use the weapon for chopping up larger pieces of Palo Santo, a wood that is burnt to keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay.

“The use of palo santo is traditional in South America, especially in Ecuador. According to the local customs, it is used against the “mala energía” (bad energy) or to clean your house of bad energy.”

It was recommended to me by more than a few people here to create a smudge to keep the bugs away. What they didn’t tell me was about it’s “spiritual” properties. Apparently it has been used by local shamans to “clear misfortune, negative thoughtprints, and ‘evil spirits’.”

It’s time to light another few small sticks now that the first few used this morning while I sit outside on my balcony while writing in my normal nude state, have been reduced to ashes. The battle against biting insects in an ongoing war.

The Pragmatic Naturist

Putting on a bathing suit for the public beach is dealing with things sensibly and realistically

A friend of mine made the comment about how some of my images are as much about being a pragmatic person [nudist] as they were about being a naturist. I thought about it and have concluded that he is indeed correct. This particular photo I took about preparing to go to the public beach in Olon, is a very good example of pragmatism.

I have to wear a bathing suit, preferably board shorts for the surfing crowd and the Ecuadorians who frequent the village, people who have been influenced when it comes to what to wear by the Gringos who bring their money when they come on a surfing holiday. Of course, I detest board shorts and wear my Kiniki briefs which I am holding in my hands in the accompanying photo. Yes, they are rather sheer, but they work at allowing some of the sun’s rays through while providing discreet cover. Not surprisingly, no one else here wears Speedo type bathing suits.

What Makes a Photo a Naturist Photo?

Taking a moment for contemplation while making sure I don’t fall off the upper balcony railing.

The sky is overcast today with just the occasional whisper of a shower from time to time. It is quite warm, regardless, and we are enjoying the day. This morning we went for a shorter walk of just over four kilometres rather than our usual ten kilometres. Rather than wearing our Kiniki bathing suits, we wore clothing for the walk along the shorter section. Since it wasn’t sunny, it almost seemed pointless to wear bathing suits. Besides, swimming wasn’t on our agenda. Now that we are back, I have time for some writing and blogging.

I wondered for quite a while before deciding the theme for today’s post, quite some time actually. It wasn’t as if there is nothing to say, but whatever was to be said had to what emerged from within me rather than be forced by my head. It was the photo I took that had me realise that it was the use of images in social media in general that needed to be addressed. This photo above obviously shows that I am fully nude. It is Facebook friendly for a photo of a male nude though not Facebook friendly if this had been a photo of a woman. My nipples are safe while a woman’s serve as triggers for some, especially the good folks at Facebook.

In this second photo, taken earlier today before our beach walk, the photo isn’t Facebook friendly because there is a penis showing in spite of the fact that it is mostly in the shadows. In spite of that fact, the photo still fits well with being a “safe” photo that doesn’t set off too many triggers for a number of women, especially those who have been targeted by men who are focused on sharing “dic pics” with the intention to “Wow!” the women with their manliness, which for them is about the size of their penis, especially when the penis is in the excited erect state. Another reason for the image being “safe” is the fact that the photo is natural and not genital-centric – the focal point of view is drawn to the light and secondly to the face peering out into the light.

Shifting the focus is all a matter of light.

This last photo, which I am reluctant to post but feel is necessary to finish dealing with the topic is a photo I took quite some time ago. Usually these photos get purged but some get lost in the shuffle and hide in the archives. It is definitely not Facebook friendly. The penis is front and centre, a matter of the eyes being drawn by the light. It is also partially erect which immediately sets off some alarms for some women. Is it a dic pic? with the face in the photo, technically it isn’t. Yet because of the use of light, it really is a dic pic. I guess I could make a case for the image being a work of art. But in spite of my original intentions, the image fails. It isn’t a naturist photo in spite of the fact that I am a naturist.

With all of that said, I open the discussion to you, my readers, to have your say whether you agree with me or not.

Naturist Life Along the Amazon

I found this carving on an abandoned building along the Napo River which becomes the Amazon River further downstream. This is Amazon country.

As promised, I am bringing forth some of my Amazonian experiences here for you. Today, there is no nudity to speak of among the Amazon River system native tribes. Further down the Napo River, in the National Park of Yasuni, there are a few tribes that still spend a lot of time nude though the modern world is making incursions into this ancient culture because of contact due to tourism.

North Americans are well aware of the nude tribes through various videos, photos, and National Geographic articles. What people don’t necessarily realise is that prior to contact with “White” people [the Spanish to begin with] and their religion of Christianity, nudity was the only way life was experienced along the rivers that feed the Amazon, as well as the Amazon River itself which is formed at the junction of the Napo River and the Maranon River, just after Iquitos in Peru. These were the last tribes to be impacted by exposure to the western world.

Painting found on the high mesa before Banos

The image to the right which I found on the highland mesa between the Andes and the Cordillera de Los Lyanganantes, as we were making our final stage to Banos, paints an Ecuadorian version of the Garden of Eden. It reminded me of Will Forest‘s novel called Aglow which deals with the prehistoric native world of Central and South America, a good book to read in my opinion. Of course, the image is modern showing modern people in the “Agua Santos,” the hot springs at Banos, Ecuador. Still, the truth is there to be seen in the image, the truth that it wasn’t that long ago that life was lived nude when conditions were favourable, weather conditions, not necessarily societal conditions.

Our guide was visiting the site we found ourselves in along the river, for only the second time. He had been there as a youth more than twenty years earlier and remembered the people in the native village being nude. Today they wore costumes that showed a different heritage – grass skirts, robes, coconut shell bras, wild animal pelts, and feathers. In spite of the disconnect with their own history, the journey was well worth taking for me. There were enough little things that pointed to the reality of times gone by where life was lived naturally along the Amazon.

Nude Outdoors on the Casa’s Balcony in Olon

Taking a moment, a stolen moment, for being nude outdoors on the balcony.

It’s always good to get home, and that is what we call our rented casa here in Ecuador, after a time spent away on one adventure or another. One of the first things I did was to steal a bit of naked time on the upper balcony after covering up the railings with blankets so that I could have some privacy. Over the next few days I hope to use my experiences for posts here. There is a lot to explore from a naturist’s perspective about the Amazon and the land between the coast and the Amazon.

Today was spent going over more than six hundred photos with the objective of somehow reducing the number to a more manageable two hundred which is still too many. I also had to send photos to three others, photos which featured them. Of course, with those photos now delivered, I can delete most of them, keeping just the best. Then, once lunch was finished, it was time for our ten kilometre walk along the beach before heading back to the casa. It has been a good day, and now I’m going to sit back with my wife and enjoy some wine on the upper balcony.

Baños Ecuador – a Private Hostal Moment

Baños Hostal

It’s late afternoon and I am taking a pause after time spent on a tributary of the Amazon River. I am posting a photo taken last night while we were in Baños. My DSLR has been kept busy capturing images during our travel, or more correctly,  during the pauses.

Here along the River, it is stifling hot. However, because of mosquitoes, going clothing free is not a pleasant option. At least the clothing I am wearing is the coolest one can find.

This morning we visited a traditional village. The village was real enough, however the parts presented to us were obviously prepared for tourists. Regardless, we enjoyed what was shown to us. I did get a chance to try shooting poisoned darts through a long wooden tube. The target was a wooden bird which I seemed to do better than the two Ecuadorian and the five other Canadians in our group. I must have been a Hunter in my past lives.

There likely won’t be any posts for the next two days. For now, while waiting for the late afternoon rains to stop, it’s time for a ceveza.

The Naked Self Hiding in the Shadows

Denying one’s shadow at one’s own peril.

When this post makes it to your device, I will have already left for a five-day excursion that will take my wife and I to the headwaters of the Amazon River. Today I am using a photo I took early this morning while waiting for the water to boil on the stove. I couldn’t use the kettle as the power in our fishing village here in Ecuador was again out for a number of hours. I chose this image for a number of reasons, the most important of which was the mirror image in the shadows that could be seen in the window. The person in the shadows is an aspect of self, as good as a separate person that has taken up residence within us without our awareness. We all have this shadow self lurking within. We can learn of the existence of the shadow self, a cognitive awareness of the “idea” of a shadow self. Yet, that is all we can “know.” If we knew more, then it wouldn’t be shadow.

In today’s world there is a lot of noise about the Shadow. There are books, workshops, and numerous blog posts, many by skilled analysts and therapists. However, the majority of this published information and events give the impression that you can get to know your shadow, perhaps make some sort of friendly agreements with this shadow. You “CAN’T” know your shadow. You CAN sense the presence of shadow – your shadow and the collective shadow if you see what “stirs you up” or what “gets a group all fired up.” With affective responses, we can know that within our inner depths, or within the collective unconscious, the shadow has been active.

So why am I even talking about this? I am not trying to give a depth psychology lesson. What I am trying to do is to “reflect” upon the affective responses to the post that I removed. The offended responses, the rah-rah responses, the heat … all bear the imprint of shadow at work. My shadow, your shadow, our collective shadow. You can deny and claim that any “energised” response was purely cognitive, that you knew exactly how and why you responded with “heat.” But as soon as you do, turn and look at your responses, the non-verbal and the emotive responses. Where do they come from? Without the shadow stirring up shit behind the scenes, my words are simply just that, words.

In truth, we often don’t know why we respond the way we do to most things. Triggers are set off and unconscious scripts make their appearance in our responses to having our buttons pushed. In terms of naturism and nudism, the same holds true. As soon as heat appears, consciousness takes a back seat. And nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to nudity and images of nudity.

Why do the images of nudity exist? We intellectually know that such images provoke others, push buttons so-to-speak, yet knowing that and posting an image regardless speaks to a different issue. Why was the image even taken such as the image above? And why was the image presented in the manner as above, with cropping? Do we take these images out of vanity, out of narcissistic self-fascination, as an exhibitionist? The truth is we don’t honestly know why. We can tell ourselves all kinds of believable reasons feeling that there is no other reason, no unconscious reason, that might be at work. As soon as we convince ourselves that our conscious rationale is all that is needed to fully explain  our actions, then we are even more at the mercy of the shadow within us.

I realise that I likely sound like a know-it-all to those who reject what I have to say, but I don’t pretend to know it all. I can only point to something bigger than both me and you. Think about it. Tell me and others reading here what you think about this.