Winter Solstice means different things to different cultures, however there is no denying that it is a significant time of the year for those of us who live closer to the polar regions of the globe. As the days grow distressingly short and dark, we humans are inclined to seek rebirth through celebration which dwells upon joy, light, festivity, and through seeking moments of respite from our normal modes of work and play for quiet prayer or contemplation. Is it no wonder that most of the modern organized faiths as well as nearly all of the ancient belief systems have all established at least one of their major observations to align closely with the approaching Solstice. Are we naturists no different from the rest of humanity in this respect? I for one, being a practicing "loose cannon" Catholic naturist, am intrigued by the journey that both my soul and my body undergoes at this time of the year. Winter Solstice holds profound importance for me in so many ways. One of those ways that I have come to appreciate is that the Solstice is a reminder for me to seek natural therapy for that which ails me. And what better way to therapy than to get one's unencumbered total being out of the shadows of winter and into promise of renewed life that is winter. In so doing, I appreciate that I can both celebrate and pray….and no clothes are necessary….for me, clothes would get in the way. Next weekend, I hope to once again join with some close friends in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont near the Canadian border, and hike out in the early snows of the season, bake in a wood fired sauna, commune over great food and drink, and finally to dance around a huge bonfire; all of this as God intended, for we all journeyed into this world without benefit of clothing, and so we shall continue.
With the approach of the Solstice, comes many good friends, some I have not seen for quite a while. A particular one seldom fails me. I certainly am noticing the low angle of sun which is the real cause of my SAD. My body reads this shift in color of the light, the same one that give photos taken at this time of the year such depth and warmth. My body simply tries to shut down both emotionally and physically for the winter…..like a bear, or is that bare. Today despite it's brilliance, I noticed a sun at high noon that could not have been much above 45 degrees above the local horizon. There is no denying that we are mighty close to the passing of the Winter Solstice. I couldn't be happier though my winter companion usually lingers well into March if I allow it. I and countless others amongst us on this planet have to work at keeping our spirits up through long winters. Remaining an active freerange naturist though out the entire year, both inside and outside, I am convinced helps me immensely in maintaining a good friendship with SAD. This practice may help others with their similar challenges. I can't convince many of my textile friends to shed their clothes to so avail themselves of this great therapy, but I can't help but too preach this strategy to my fellow naturists who might otherwise be inclined like me to simply hibernate for four months.
We have had quite a few raw and overcast days, you know the ones….45 degrees (F), gray skies, and biting wind, absolutely bone chilling as is to be expected for us more northerly types in December: a condition of weather that is far colder to body and soul then when the thermometer dips ten to twenty degrees colder on the scale. We have also had a surprising number of sunny days in the 50s and 60s since the middle of November and we still have had no hard freeze at night. Very rare for us here in the Boston area this late in the season. However, laying out under the sun today confirmed to me just how far north we are here in the Boston area. Though the sun felt good on my bare skin, there was absolutely no heat to it! Bright clear day, brilliant sun, but no heat to the rays. Even the sun tries to be cold in December in Massachusetts. Never-the-less, my old friend is catching me more off guard than usual this year. I have been taking advantage of the shorter days of late by setting out on my off-road running trails at dusk and nude-running them well into the dark (see my recent other Solstice blog). No doubt, I will soon have to strap on skis, or snowshoes in order to continue my free range naturism and I will have to find more remote places to do so, because even the trees here are bare through the winter. Maybe they too know a good thing, but in being so, they provide less cover for us bares.
I have enjoyed several naked running sessions with the temps at a perfect 30 to 40 degrees (F), including a run of around six miles two weeks ago and one of about four miles this past Sunday. Running naked is a luxury that one simply can't get away with in the Boston area under normal circumstances, so I cherish these rare opportunities. Too bad that I have to view nude running as a luxury rather than a basic right, but that's another topic. Oh well, maybe some day….if so, God will no doubt be pleased.
Today was nudging 60(F) at noon so I chose to run by daylight and had to cover of course because there were others out and about on MY trails. How could such a thing happen in the Boston area….and they were all textiles too! It was a bright sunny day today with a light breeze out of the south. We have had this southerly breeze since yesterday and it seems to be bringing us some warmth and humidity from the Gulf of Mexico several states away. By the time that I reached the pond after about a mile and a half, I had worked up quite a sweat despite starting out from my house with only my running kilt/loin cloth. So I had to go in for a quick swim. The water was still, the scant remaining color of this past falls foliage reflecting upon its surface. Yes the water is cold now at about 45 degrees (F) but the thought of wild swimming in mid December here was too much of a rare opportunity to pass up. Todays' was a bracing experience, yet I feel relaxed and reinvigorated for for it, even now at 11pm in the evening as I sit writing this, once again properly (non)attired. I am so happy that I partook of this wild swim today. However, I am looking forward to a stretch of several similar days over the next week as promised by the weather "experts". Maybe there are few more wild swims in store for me yet this year.
I urge you all to in your own ways get outside and to leave your clothes (when possible) wherever you leave them ordinarily. Go and explore and continue to explore joys which this and the coming seasons have to offer you. Maybe the best therapy to be found in this life.
Naked cheers for the season.