Perhaps the term “neighborhood” doesn’t truly fit the area where I live. Several miles from the highway, and several miles from the nearest town, we live, as we like to say, “In the sticks”. There are two houses within sight of my place, both belonging to the same family, but they’re a comfortable distance away. The furthest is across the county road, and about a hundred yards down the road from my place. The nearest home’s land borders mine on the same side of the road, minus a narrow right-of-way strip belonging to another family that may someday become a driveway. In the meantime, my neighbor and I each mow the strip from time to time.
The neighboring family is just a father and son, with the son occupying the nearest home on my side of the road. These folks are well aware that I’m a naturist, and have seen me nude outside on many occasions, although I usually keep my nudity fairly discreet at home. Still, the back of my property is not completely shielded from view, and if I’m doing something back there, I’m fairly easy to see from the place next door, and that property goes back as far as mine. We have a privacy fence that hides our “front back-yard”, and it also hides our above-ground swimming pool from direct view from the house next door, but not from the back part of the land. They have a close friend, the same age as the son, mid-thirties, who spends a lot of weekends with them. He’s probably heard about my naturism, but as far as I know, he’d never seen me nude.
This past weekend, I had been working in my garden most of the day, nude as usual. Like the pool, the garden is visible from the back of the next-door neighbor’s property. In the afternoon, we spent some time in the pool, mostly relaxing on air mattresses, getting some sun, and chatting. My girlfriend was wearing a bikini, as usual, and I was nude, as usual. After all, why would I get dressed after nude gardening, to get into the pool?
As we were sunbathing and relaxing, the family friend drove up next door, fired up the riding lawn mower, and started mowing. They hadn’t mowed the back part all season, so we didn’t expect him to be mowing anywhere he’d have a clear view of us in the pool. We were mistaken, and soon after starting, he drove right along the fence in plain sight…and all of me was in plain sight to him, stretched out on the air mattress. He didn’t show any reaction at all, and I wasn’t interested in interrupting our relaxation time together or my cold beer, so we just kept on doing our thing while he was doing his.
After a while in the sun, my girlfriend decided she’d had enough sun, and went inside to cool off. Getting out of the pool requires climbing a double-sided ladder, with a platform at the top. Since the guy had obviously seen me many times as he mowed, I nonchalantly climbed up, turned around on the platform, and climbed down the outer side, in full nude view all the way. I had intended to return to my gardening after the pool time, and since my nudity seemed to a total non-issue, that’s exactly what I did.
After putting on my sunglasses, a rolled-up bandanna around my head to catch the sweat, and boots on my feet, I went into the garden, lit my weeding torch, and spent the next half-hour or so flame weeding a section of my garden, the entire fence line between the garden and pool, and our outdoor fireplace area, all of which was in plain sight of the area he was mowing. It was like the two stereo-typical neighbor guys, each working in our yards with nothing but a wire fence between us, the only difference was that he was wearing coveralls, and I was wearing nothing but sunshine!
So, while I’ve never been terribly concerned if I was seen nude briefly, I have usually tried to stay out of direct sight, even if that required a change in my outdoor work plans. In the future, I’ll be a lot more confident about being seen nude, and will do my best to just go about whatever I’m doing, no matter what’s going on next door. Who knows…maybe some day, there’ll be one of those stereo-typical neighborly chats across the fence, with one neighbor properly attired in sunshine, and the other wearing uncomfortable work clothes!
Last weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to hike and explore along the Stillaguamish River, near Arlington, Washington. It was a beautiful day for a four-mile walk, even though much of the route was in public view and required that I remain clothed. Fortunately, as with many public-access areas, the “public” doesn’t wander too far from the parking area.
Soon, leaving all the human visitors behind, I watched a Bald Eagle soaring over the river, and several ducks foraging in the shoal water as I walked. As soon as I reached the sandy beach, and left most of the river’s gravel bars behind, I removed my 5-Fingers shoes and continued my hike barefoot. As the sand played out, I reached a quiet and secluded stretch of dirt trail that wandered alternately along the river, through the woods, and past the back edge of an alfalfa field that was being cut.
A long-time believer in the health benefits of “Earthing”, I savored the naturally healing connection between Earth and bare feet. From coarse river sand, the trail changed to cool dirt in the shade of the woods, mud as it dipped into the low areas along the river, through grassy hills, to leafy loam as it meandered among the hardwood forest beside the alfalfa field. The physical and mechanical benefits of walking naturally barefoot were apparent as sand was brushed from my feet by grass, mud squeezed between my toes, then fell off as my feet padded along firmer soil, muscles adapted to the contours of each step, across rocks, up and over logs, and through shallow water. Man-made footwear would have filled with sand, accumulated heavy mud, become soaked, slipped, bumped, and tripped among these variations. And, it would have blocked the natural flow of energy that occurs when bare soles meet bare Earth.
At the far edge of the field, I reached the end of the out-and-back trail, and was confident that I was the only human in the wooded area and along that stretch of river. The sunshine and shade, as well as the cool breeze and the brush of foliage, beckoned my bare skin to mingle in their naturalness. Removing my clothes and laying them aside, I wandered freely along the river and among the woods. My physical, even spiritual connection with nature drained the stress from my body. The sun’s warm energy alternated with the coolness of the shady woods as they both embraced my nakedness. I began feeling renewed, energized, relaxed, and truly grounded in nature.
As with so many good things, my naturally nude time came to an end. Reluctantly dressing again, I picked up my 5-Fingers and padded along the trail, back toward “public”, back toward the rat race of “civilization”. Trickles of cool, clear water and coarse river sand cleaned my feet, so that upon reaching the rocky area, I sat on a piece of driftwood and easily brushed the last remaining sand from my feet before putting my shoes back on. Although the remaining walk lead along a dirt road with several parked cars and a mile or so of pavement before crossing a state highway, the encroachment of civilization couldn’t overcome the feeling of balance and rejuvenation that I had gained by joining nature in my natural state of being.
It occurred to me that COVID-19 has presented an ironic turn-about. Every day, there are more news stories about people who are upset about requirements to wear face coverings or masks in public places. Some even react violently about the rules.
While the debate over the coverings obviously is a multi-faceted argument, one thing is clear. Right, wrong, or indifferent, the rules do at least have scientifically based roots in protecting public health.
The ironic part is that most of the people that resent wearing the face coverings are probably textile-minded folks who would adamantly demand that everyone must wear clothing, even when there is no plausible or scientific reason to do so.
Keep that in mind the next time you hear someone complaining about face coverings. It would be a great opportunity to start a conversation about the temporary nature of the face covering rules, and the long term nature of anti-nudity rules, as well as the scientific basis, and lack thereof, related to each set of rules.
This Saturday, May 02, is “World Naked Gardening Day”. It’s a great opportunity to get closer to the natural environment while doing productive things, while enjoying the comfort of working in our normal and natural state of nudity. For those of us who already embrace the idea that “nude is normal”, WNGD is another way to participate and encourage others to give natural body acceptance a try. For those who have never experienced the outdoors in nothing but bare skin, WNGD can be a wonderful way to step outside of the society-driven body-shaming box and enjoy life as it was meant to be enjoyed…naturally naked!
With the restrictions that many are dealing with at this time due to COVID-19, it may be difficult to spend time outside. But, remember, gardening can take place in many unconventional places, like rooftops, balconies, patios, back yards, and so on. WNGD isn’t meant to be a large group function, anyway, so even if one must be alone, or with only close family members, it’s still a chance for many to get outdoors and closer to nature.
If you can, I strongly encourage you to get out of your clothes, out of the news cycle, and out of doors on World Naked Gardening Day and spend the day focused on enjoying life and our natural world!
Happy World Naked Gardening Day!
After several years of wishing, I finally started my new hobby of beekeeping last year. Wishing to give the bees the most natural environment possible, I chose to use “top bar” hives, after doing a lot of reading online and in books. Last year’s bee colonies were a great learning experience, complete with successes and failures. Both of my two colonies started the 2019 season well, building good honey comb and harvesting lots of nectar and pollen. Unfortunately, one colony absconded late in the summer, for reasons yet unknown. The other colony kept working through the early Autumn, and seemed as if they would do well during the winter, but didn’t make it through the coldest months.
I started out using a protective beekeeper’s jacket, veil, and gloves, as most apiarists (beekeepers) do. Although the gear worked very well, it quickly became uncomfortably hot as the weather warmed up in late Spring. Trying to stay as cool as possible, I usually wore only a pair of loose-fitting cargo short, with no shirt under the jacket, and I was usually barefoot. Bees would occasionally brush, and sometimes land on my bare legs, without incident, and I quickly became very comfortable about it. The thought occurred to me that if a bee crawled beneath the legs of my shorts, it could become trapped, become defensive, and sting, but it didn’t happen, so I kept wearing the shorts.
My gloves are thin leather, with long fabric cuffs and elastic bands that overlap the jacket sleeves. Though they’re very good at protecting me from stings, I soon found that it was impossible to feel bees if they wound up between my fingers, or between any part of my hands and any parts of the hives. This presented a crushing risk to the bees, which in turn led to defensive stinging. When one bee stings, it emits a pheromone that alerts the other bees, causing them to also become defensive. When a honey bee stings, it will die, so it quickly became apparent that the gloves were a potential risk to several bees at a time. And, of course, the gloves are hot, just like the jacket.
I started working without gloves, and found that besides being more comfortable, I was able to handle the hive parts, tools, etc. with greater dexterity. I also found that if I placed a bare finger on a bee, I felt the bee before doing any harm, and it would usually just wiggle out of the way and continue it’s business. If I placed a finger, or hand in a bee’s way, the bee would often simply walk across my fingers or hand, continuing along it’s way.
Soon enough, as with many other activities, I decided to try working with the bees while nude. Online, I’d read some articles, and seen some pictures and videos of people interacting with bees while nude. Having a few wild bees around me, and even landing on me, while I’ve been nude has been a very common experience, given the fact that I spend a great deal of time nude outdoors. Still, I must admit that the first time I opened a hive with tens of thousands of very active honey bees inside, while wearing nothing at all, I was a bit unsure about it! But I did it, and the bees simply kept right on doing “bee stuff”…working on their comb, buzzing around me, landing on my bare body for a walk-around inspection, and simply doing the things that bees naturally do.
It’s been said (quite often, in fact) that I’m “crazy”, usually when someone sees or hears about some of my activities. Is nude beekeeping safe? Or am I just taking crazy chances? I cannot say for sure. And I am not recommending that anyone else try interactions with bees while nude. That’s something that everyone will have to decide about on their own, if it interests them. Anyone with an allergy to bee stings should definitely NOT try nude beekeeping, as it could prove quite dangerous. Having been stung on many occasions in life, with no bad consequences, I’m relatively confident that I’m not allergic.
For myself, I find that, as with so many other things in nature, the human body was created to harmonize well without man-made inventions. The naked human body apparently seems perfectly natural to bees. This year’s two new colonies started their nude-human interactions early, and seem to regard my naked body as simply another part of their natural environment. It might seem odd, or even unnerving to some, to have a few bees landing on literally ANY part of their naked body, but I’ve come to regard the experience as totally natural, as well. After all, I’m simply hanging out naturally nude with several tens of thousands of my closest friends, who are also naturally nude!