—A Halloween Gift—
Well, after several delays this evening, I finally slipped out the door around 10pm to a rising breeze out of the northeast. As I jogged down the street and across the school yard and into the woods behind, taking in faint whiffs of woodsmoke in the air along the way, I noted that the American Flag in front of the school that no one bothers to take down at night anymore was standing out pretty well from its pole. I suppose that I should have expected to feel a bit of a chill with the temps standing at only 47 degrees and I, wearing only my VFFs, Running Kilt, and a loose sweatshirt cut off at the shoulder seams. Sure enough, I was feeling cold in places over the surface of my body and warm in others. However, knowing that we are due for a full blown nor'easter over the next two days with outdoor air temperature highs only lower than they are now at this late hour, I was motivated to keep my commitment to moon the moon on this night of all nights, Halloween. I suppose that I should be pleased to report that I did not encounter any goblins, ghouls or headless horsemen in my totally nude state over the next hour and a half, for as soon as I was into the woods and beyond the reach of the lights in the school yard, all remaining scraps of textile were banished from my existence for the interim. The moment that I had removed the last stitch and had begun moving along at a steady jogging pace, the chill that had been concerning me turned into a sudden and complete delight as that cool breeze caressed the entirety of my body once again. Comfort returned, not cold, not warm, my body and soul once again at peace with the world around it.
I have been amazed these past few weeks at the persistence of the tree frogs and crickets as I have run this same route at night and naked several times over that period. We have truly just experienced a warm and lengthy fall nude hiking and swimming season here in the Northeast. Tonight for the first time since the Summer Solstice, they were noticeably absent. Silence but for the menacing sound of the wind now tugging a bit more tenaciously at the increasingly bare tops of the trees overhead as I trotted along below. Startled by the sudden nakedness of the trees and forest apparent for the first time this night, I noted that the bright half-moon which I had noted earlier in the evening as I drove home from the office was also now absent. In its place a curious pinkish orange light tinted by a hint or bluish purple illuminated me, the woods around me, and the trail at my feet such that I had no difficulty seeing my way as I paced along. The fallen leaves, now quite deep in places as I crunched through them glowed nearly phosphorescent under this strange light which seemed to come from all directions at once and cast no shadow. Perhaps the souls of the dead are indeed at work around me on this strange night. Of course a more rational theory to explain the eeriness may be a dense and growing low cloud cover that served to reflect the abundance of man-made light pollution common to my area back downwards towards my little place in the universe. But the romantic side of me chooses the first explanation in keeping with the spirit of the season this October 31.
Now in my own zone, I round the bend and head up over the highway, the six lanes of steady traffic and drivers, oblivious as aways to my unencumbered passage directly over their heads. As I head down the other side and into the deep ancient stand of hemlocks on the way toward the camp, even the breeze is now absent and I could just as well have been running naked on a balmy August evening. Funny how the same thermometer reading of 47 degrees can feel so entirely different to the naked body at different times, not that any of it ever feels uncomfortable when being in a natural state. As I crested a small ridge in the trail, I encountered the first of several fallen trees blocking the trail, an unexpected encounter in the darkness as I had just been through here a week earlier and all was well. The same wind and rain that had replenished the water level in the pond that I had noted with pleasure this past Wednesday during my daytime skinny dip there under considerably warmer conditions must have been responsible for this carnage too. Undeterred, I pushed on, encountering two more downed trees across my path before arriving at the camp.
I slipped through the camp past two occupied cabins with stealth and settled in on the dock down by the water's edge. The pond seemed smaller and my world a bit cozier under the lowering and thickening cloud cover. The geese that usually greet me at this location on my forays naked under the full moon were also seemingly absent on this night, probably hunkered down in the bog over in the western edge of the pond in preparation for the approaching storm. I should probably be doing the same but my soul is not yet ready to accept the coming days of shortage of many things essential to my being. As I stared out across the water contemplating yet one more skinny dip for my season, I noted that the rising wind of the approaching storm clearly behind me had not yet met the water for the first 150 yards out. Immediately in front of me the surface of the water was mirror flat but just beyond, I could see its broken surface rising to the wind. With the clouds above holding in what heat was left in the water, now was my moment if there ever was to be one. I removed my VFFs and stepped into the water once again, crouching down soon thereafter and slipping completely in with utmost of quiet so as not to arouse the sleeping campers up on the hill. The water felt bracing and refreshing after my nude run. With the water temperature probably now in the mid fifties and only a few degrees above the temperature of the air around me, it felt curiously warm and comfortable. I am still amazed after years of enjoying many forms of nude recreation and nude living in general how readily adaptable the human body is when allowed to function entirely in its natural state.
I swam out 25 yards or so, lingered for a moment and then turned back, certain parts of my body soon reminding me that enough was enough. I lay out on the dock under the thick night sky for a few moments to air dry, this spot being totally sheltered from the wind by the slope of the abutting hillside and forest growth that tumbles at this spot down to the water. Entertaining my imagination with remembered tales of witchcraft and other mischief, I savored my memories of a past Halloween night not too many years ago spent on the summit of Glastenbury Mountain on the Long Trail in Vermont on a very wild night of howling wind and persistent sheets of rain. If you google the destination, you will see that the area has a long and continuous history going back to the times of the native Americans of being haunted. For that reason, I and a few of my naturist hiking buddies had agreed to nude backpack this stretch of the trail that weekend. Our fanciful desires to be spooked on that occasion were amply rewarded.
After only a few moments, not wanting to tempt hypothermia any further, but not bothering to put anything on, I gathered my things into my hand and headed back, breaking into a gentle trot as soon as I was past the cabins. Soon pleasantly warm and comfortable once again, in time I passed once again through the hemlock stand, a spooky place on this night if I ever wanted it to be one. I came back out still naked, onto the overpass over the highway. Just as I passed the crown of its span, I glanced back over my shoulder and beheld the moon breaking through the clouds in sudden yet magnificent splendor laced across its face with streaks of jagged dark clouds. The old man's way of saluting us all on this night for all souls naked or otherwise.
Life is short, play naked.