The Winter Solstice–

How I envy you Augustus (recent blog "Naked Run, No Bother") and you all in the UK that have the "mostly" legal right to go about your essential daily rituals unencumbered by unnecessary accessory. Our law on these matters in the US in most places is a twisted and silly mess. None the less, like you, I do go out and run naked whenever I find a promising opportunity. Things like weather, time of day, season, etc all conspire to keep most people off of my favorite running trails occasionally. I have come to favor trail running in the woods because of the solitude that it allows me, though infrequently the alignment of the stars that allows me to do so entirely naked. Perhaps because it is prohibited fruit for most of us here, myself included, I cherish all the more, the opportunity and total immersion within my very being that running naked allows me. However there are times when I wish that nudity was legal here in the US in some way as in the UK, so that I might go out and run naked more freely, in the hopes that people might occasionally notice me, while not being in their face, and come in time to realize that running naked is an entirely natural thing to do.

Four days ago I found myself out on what was expected to have been a quick two mile jaunt after a particularly frustrating day, nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly not naked. It was late in the day, when I started out from my house wearing just my Running Kilt, a cut off fleece sweatshirt and VFF toe shoes. The temps where hanging in the high 40s F, dusk was coming fast, it being depressingly close to the Winter Solstice already. At this time of the year people in my part of the world don't venture forth very far afield when it is late, cold and dark, so these woods were likely to be mine alone on such a day. And so it was. With the breeze dropping to nil, I was completely naked and picking up my pace a bit by the time that I had covered my first hundred yards down the trail and beyond sight of the road from which I had commenced. By the time that I reached my usual turn around point at the AMC camp by Ponkapog Pond, in the Blue Hills public reservation, I had long since settled into a serene and easy rhythm. Something from within caused me to turn right at a particular trail junction and commit to a loop trail around the pond down which I have not been in quite some time, energized by the prospect that this move would add another spontaneous and carefree four miles to my naked run. Darkness quickly overtook the fleeting dusk and emboldened me to continue on, free as I was of any artificial encumbrance following what is ordinarily a popular dog walk and equestrian path. With my night vision kicking in strong, instinct and perhaps a form of subconscious echo sensing which I have come to rely upon when running in the dark had me not only staying on trail, but dodging the rocks, and lumps of dark matter (gifted from passing horses) with no particular difficulty and rejoicing my my stroke of good luck to have found this moment. As I rounded the western end of the pond and turned to stare back across the quiet waters, a big full orange moon obliged me by rising magnificently from the eastern horizon; the sky, stars and moon doubled before me in the mirror surface of the pond. How could life be better? A seeming far too few moments later, though three miles further, having totaled some six miles of naked bliss, I arrived back at the trailhead from which I had commenced, and alas had to cover for the three hundred remaining yards down the road, to my kitchen door where I immediately removed said covering and rustled a steaming cup of hot chocolate to further nurture my state of total contentedness, the indoor/outdoor by the window now registering 68F/36F respectively.

Are we not all born to be naked? Were we not born to run? Thanks Augustus for bringing such moments to mind here in your thought provoking recent blog on the topic of naked running.

Naked cheers.


16 thoughts on “The Winter Solstice–”

  1. Right you are Patrick. I believe that it is you who has fostered some very fruitful past discussions here upon this very notion, ie, were it legal, how many of us would go about our business naked 24/7. However, I am saying BRAVO to Augustus and the many of us here who have the good fortune, the comfort withing their own skins to be able to follow their heart and do what just feels so right at the moment, spontaneously, when these occasional favorable alignment of the stars come our way.

    • And I say bravo to you Daniel. Well done for an amazing run at a most unlikely time of year and for telling the story so well.

      My knowledge of US law is only very sketchy, but as far as I know there are no federal laws that make public nudity illegal (hence it having been legal in San Francisco) and there have been cases of public nudity being protected under your first amendment rights. That just leaves local state laws or city ordinances; which is where most of your problems seem to lie. This means that some parts of the US are better than others…

      • Thanks Brian. Yes, there is no federal law against public nudity in the US and that might be a good thing in the long run as it might stand as a sensible model for local law in the future. However our reality is that nudity is left as a matter for local law. As it is, vast tracts of national forest land and other undeveloped public lands are theoretically open for nude activity, however as in the UK, not all federal agents upon these lands have encountered the situation and might presume that there is some law in place to restrict such activity, so it can get messy. In the developed national parks, park rules most often defer to local law on the matter and local law is where the problem is.

        With the exception of the state of Vermont and in some other rare jurisdictions where there is no law against nudity, the prevailing norm is to expect that public nudity is uniformly against the law in the US. Unfortunately, there is no consensus within the vast body of local law as to just what the definition of the unencumbered activities that are so vehemently denied us naturists actually is. As a result, many police and other prudish types are left to paint their interpretations with a very broad brush, whereas we naturists are left with trying to find some place between the wording of the law within to fit our preferred mode of attire and remain "legal", or at least escape persecution.

        With the most certainly warranted attention now focused under our law toward pedophiles and other predatory behavior in our society, the situation has devolved here with the adoption of mandatory listing in both federal and public databases of all convicted sexual offenders. Of course, nudity is almost automatically equated with sexually offensive behavior by both common and legal interpretation, so getting entangled with law enforcement and the courts over such matters as nudity can get nasty very quickly in some parts of the US. But we all manage to adapt and learn to fly successfully under the radar. As I have stated on this forum before, we in the US are fortunate to have vast amounts of space to stretch into and enjoy what we like to do, even if it is technically illegal.

        The other huge problem that we have here in the US is one of cultural attitude. Starting sometime in the 90s, GenX parents' seemed inclined to wrap their kids in bubble wrap. One of the bizarre outcomes of this mindset was the near uniform abolishing of communal showers in public schools across the country. Thus with the possible exception of the privileged few who were sent away to boarding schools by their wealthy parents and thus lived together in close proximity to each other under the roofs of dormitories, we have inherited a generation of "mature?" millennials who virtually believe that human babies are born with clothes on. Many are extremely insecure with their own nudity and very uncomfortable, sometimes to the point of disfunction, with seeing nudity around them. I am often left standing naked in a locker room surrounded by guys a third of my age, they doing something having to do with their clothing under their towels and while still wet. Some of these pitiful creatures of god even avoid the shower entirely and struggle to force their street clothes on over their still dank and smelly designer exercise apparel. I am scratching my head and wondering what has become of the classical greek definition of the word "gymnasium"! I am very heartened to see at least one recent article in the NY Times take this matter to task. Perhaps more news commentary of this type might foster some healthy public discussion here in this country. See this link:


        • Dan, you are spot on! For this reason I prefer Nat'l Forest and am much more cautious, even in California state parks where nudity tolerance varies by Ranger & location. I've heard AANR has established a dialogue with CA.S.P. but not heard the results, and am on the E.Coast now.

        • It is the mistaken assumption that nudity=sex that causes most, if not all of our problems. When will the lawmakers realise that it is clothes that are to blame for creating this situation? If ladies' ankles are always clothed as in the Victorian era, so the sight of a lady's ankle becomes shocking…

  2. The rights to be naked legally & the actual 'ability' to do so are often very different things. In the UK it is not illegal to be naked in public. This topic is well documented across naturist media of most kinds. However, it would be a very rare thing to see anyone being naked in a place of general public use. There may be exceptions, but in most places, personal nudity is confined to home area's, social clubs & events, some rare beaches & gatherings such as WNBR.

    • Agreed Patrick and as being naked in a place of general public use (for other than an organised event) could be considered "reckless", the CPS have left the door open for them to make a case against anyone found in such a state, whatever their motive.

      Like Daniel, I confine my naked swimming, walking (or running if I ever feel energetic enough) to places where I think I will not be seen, either by virtue of its remoteness or because of the day of the week and/or time of day I have chosen to go there. That way I hope it would be difficult for anyone to claim I was being reckless.

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