Friday, April 13, 2012

Yep! I Almost went to Jail in 1991!

The Time I almost went to jail

Going to jail is one of those things that I really work hard at not ever doing.
But in 1991, I was in Roseburg, Oregon, and I almost got arrested. 
The funniest part was All I was doing was waiting for trains to watch. But I managed to attract four undercover police cars, eight detectives, and to get cuffed, and stuffed into the back of a police car… oh, and my pants were down, too! (Ha! Yes, it sounds really bad… but I assure you, none of it is what it sound like I was doing!... Read on, you will see!)

When I was transferred to Roseburg, Oregon from Medford, Oregon in the fall of 1990, I suddenly found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands, and no money to go anywhere, or do anything. I had worked at PayLess Drug for many years, and they finally convinced me to join their management team. I reluctantly took the step to become management with the agreement that I would not be transferred from Medford. They agreed… but I quickly found out that once you sign on the dotted line, they own you, and can send you anywhere they want. I had to move 90-miles from the city I loved, and start a whole new life. When you become management, you take a cut in pay, because you go salary. No more overtime pay! I also had to quit the pizza job I had. So I moved to a new place, with only one week to transfer. This meant I had to find a place to live fast, and did not have many options. I ended up in an expensive rental house. The moving expenses were not covered by the company, and neither was the amount I suddenly had to pay for vacating my Medford apartment before the contract was up. I found that I was living in extreme debt suddenly, and could barely afford the basics of everyday living.

I also quickly found out that when you become management, you are no longer allowed to socialize with your coworkers. So, now I was not only broke beyond any comparison I had ever seen, I also had no social outlets.

I have always loved trains. I have always been able to find joy in watching the trains. It did not take me long to find where the train yards were in Roseburg. It also did not take me long to learn the schedules. I found the best place to watch the trains, see all the switching, and have a wonderful evening for almost no cost at all.

At the PayLess store I was working at, we had a popcorn machine. We made the popcorn fresh in the store and sold it to the customers. We had the real machine, and it was just like you get at the movies… complete with the butter, too! When we made the popcorn, you could smell it through the entire mall, and we sold a ton of it every day. Then at closing time, the cashier working where the popcorn was, had to clean the machine. The rule was that any popcorn left when it was time to clean it was put into the checkout bags for any employee to take home at the end of the day. (That was when we still used paper bags!) Even though the “expected” proper way to do this was to let it sell-down, and have almost no popcorn left-over at the end of a day, often the clerk would pop a fresh batch (or two!) just before closing. This ensured that there was always plenty to divvy-up between any employee who wished to take some home. Shortly after I started working at this store, the Sunday night clerk would make sure there was always a huge amount for me to take, even after all the others had taken what they wanted. This clerk understood that I did not have many joys at that time, and the popcorn was one thing she could do that really brought a smile to my life.
Sunday nights happened to also be the most active night in the railroad switching yards. I had found a perfect spot to sit and watch the trains. I could back my truck right up to the tracks, and sit on the tailgate, eating my popcorn, and to me, it was better than going to the movies! I would stop at the convenience store and buy a large cup of Mountain Dew, and The Sunday Paper. So, on Sunday nights, my “dinner and show” consisted of a lot of Mountain Dew, A huge amount of popcorn, the trains, and the Sunday paper. To me, it was perfect! I had found a solution to my current problems.

This place where I went to watch the trains was a secluded part of town that had very little life in it. There was one little road leading into this area. Once it crossed the tracks, it only went about a quarter-mile further, then dead-ended at the river. There were about five or six houses on this road beyond the tracks. Needless to say, I seldom saw another person, other than the rail workers down here. I also seldom saw any cars come down this road. I had literally found a peaceful quiet spot where I could freely watch the trains, and not worry about what else might be happening nearby.

Because of the type of place this was, the rail workers got to know me pretty well. All the switchmen, and conductors knew me by name. I shared my popcorn with them. Occasionally, they would take their break on my tailgate with me. They got to know my love of trains, and were more than eager to allow me to be very close to watch and learn what they did in all the switching. They would allow me to hop on a boxcar step, and then proceed to connect it, or send it free from the line, and let me ride it as it rolled slowly down the switch to eventually connect with a gentle bump onto a waiting line. Then the locomotive would come and connect that line, and move it to another switch, still allowing me to ride along with it! Occasionally I got to ride in the locomotive while they were doing the switching. They would always make sure to stop a line right next to my truck. I always left my wallet sitting on the seat of my truck, left the keys hanging in the ignition, and never locked the door. All the rail workers would come and share the popcorn. Occasionally, the workers would bring me a can of Mountain Dew, just to say thanks. Often as they finished and were ready to head south with the train full-length with all the boxcars they had switched, transferred and connected, I would give them what popcorn was left, and the paper I had been reading, so they could read it as they went south to California.

My Sunday night ritual continued for well-over a year. There were many times the engineer had offered to allow me to ride all the way to California with them. But the catch was always that I would have to get off the train before coming into the yard at their destination, and then I would have to find my own way back home. I was not legally allowed to be on those trains, and if I was seen, or caught I would be arrested, and they would lose their jobs. But in those days, they still allowed people to ride boxcars, as long as they got off before they entered a yard. I would have been allowed to ride in either the locomotive, or the caboose. The offer was so tempting, but I always declined. There were three reasons I declined. The first was the fear of being arrested. The second was that I did not have the money to find my own way back. And the third was that I always had to be at work on Monday. I could not afford to lose my job.

Also, while in Roseburg, I started riding horses again. I had not ridden in many years, but in Roseburg it happens to be one of a few activities one can do for a night of entertainment, and socializing. Among the crowd that I rode with was the Douglas County Sheriff’s Posse. I did not have my own horse, but horse people always have extras. Every Thursday night, I had my choice of many horses I could ride. I joined the competition team cattle penning, and other equestrian events. I even started going to the clogging nights. I had found a perfect niche for myself in this town.

Every Sunday night, I went to the tracks with my paper, Mountain Dew and popcorn for well over a year.
Also during this year, I had gotten well-known in the town, become friends with many of the people who were city officials, police, fire, etc. I had gotten a reputation for not taking any crap from shoplifters, or anybody who tried to cheat, rip-off, con, or take something that was not theirs. I busted a lot of shoplifters, and was also the person who had to go to the courthouse to testify when their summons came up. I had gotten a reputation that was solid, credible, and always documented the cases. No shoplifter ever got away with it on my watch. I also had acquired personal contacts in The Police Dept, and courthouse. (back then it was beneficial for each employee to take an active part in the prevention of theft, because every employee got a bonus based on store profit, so any theft was literally stealing from our bonuses.) The word spread quickly, and those who wished to steal always sent a scout to be sure I was not working at the time. Payless had three locations in Roseburg, and I made sure all three stores got photos, and briefings on every single person we busted, so they basically were not welcome in any of our stores. I had busted so many people that The Bimart and Fred Meyer stores also used our notes to tell those same people they were not welcome there either. In a small town, it does not take long to get to know people, and to clean up the town of the trouble makers. (but there is always a degree of crookedness, and if you get involved enough you will eventually find it is deep-seated withing the city operators.)

And, also back then, it was simpler. If someone was caught doing something wrong, the community would shame them, and they would either change their ways, or they would choose to go to a different town. It was not like it is now where anybody who does wrong and gets busted then wants to get revenge, or hurt the person who busted them. It was well-known that you only did wrong if you would not get busted. Once ya got busted, you changed direction. Back then nobody flipped out and got revenge, or violent. The community stood their ground, and had the upper hand.

I was fairly confident in my Sunday night train watching, and never once considered anybody would think I was doing anything but exactly that. Occasionally throughout the year random police officers I had gotten to know would stop in and chat while I was down there. My Sunday nights were wonderful! Enjoying the trains, Sharing my popcorn and paper, enjoying good company, and enjoying my Mountain Dew.
One Sunday night, all that changed.

For some reason, the trains were not running that night. Every switch line was empty. There were no cars to rearrange, switch, connect, or disconnect. I parked in my normal spot. I sat on my tailgate. I ate my popcorn. I read my paper. I drank my Mountain Dew. Hours went by. Not a single train came or went. From the moment I had parked down there, I never saw a single car go by to the lower end of that road. Not a single person walked by. Four hours had come and gone. I had eaten the entire bag of popcorn, read the entire Sunday paper, drank the huge amount of Mountain Dew. I was getting tired and wanted to give up waiting. But I knew they would come. They always came on Sunday night. I had to pee. No big deal, I always peed down by the tracks. All the train workers always peed along the tracks, too. Normally, we would just pee right there. We were next to the trains, and there was never anyone else around. No big deal. But tonight was different. I was in the wide-open. There were no trains to stand next to.

Since this night was different, I felt I should walk over and pee behind one of the rail-shacks. I knew it was silly. I had not seen a soul for over four hours. Nobody had come down that road. I knew I was all alone down there… but I still had the feeling I should not just drop my pants right there and pee. So I walked over to one of the rail-shacks, stepped behind it, dropped my pants, and peed.

As Soon as I started peeing, the area was filled with bright lights, tires were squealing, and voices were shouting at me over loud-speakers! “DON’T MOVE!” “PUT YOUR HANDS UP!” “NO SUDDEN MOVES!” “THIS IS THE POLICE!” Needless to say I was a bit freaked out! The lights were blinding, the speakers were loud, and I had absolutely no idea what just happened. Keep in mind I had just started to pee… and with needing to go that bad, there was no “off” switch on it! I heard lots of cars, and lots of car doors. I heard many angry men yelling their commands at me. I immediately put my hands above my head… Very high and very visible! The first one to come close identified himself as a “Narcotics Detective” I was still facing away from them, and not finished peeing, but was looking over my shoulder to see what was happening. He stepped between the bright lights and me, and I could see then that they all had their guns drawn on me. He did too! He was very close to me and ordered me to slowly turn around. I said I was still peeing. He told me he did not care, and ordered me to turn around. I did.  As I turned, I could see four unmarked detective cars surrounding me, and eight detectives with guns drawn on me! With my hands up, I had no way to hold my pants up as I turned. I had finished peeing, though. My pants dropped, along with my underwear. Then the first detective asked why my pants were down. I told him I was peeing when they came up, and with my hands up, and having to turn around I could not keep them up. I asked if I could pull them up. He told me to keep my hands up. I did. I know better than to argue with a cop. I knew they had some misunderstanding, and they would soon figure out their mistake. I knew I just needed to cooperate until then. 

He motioned for another detective to cuff me, and the others to go around the shed. Then they walked me to one of the cars, with my pants still down around my knees, frisked me, and seemed disappointed. (There obviously was nothing hidden in my pants!) The detectives that went around the shed said they found nothing. The first detective said “Where is it?” I asked what he was looking for. He told me not to get smart with him. Then he asked for my ID. I told him it was in my wallet on the seat of my truck. He asked again “where’s your stuff?” I asked him again what he meant. He looked pretty mad, and he sent other detectives over to search my truck. Just then, two patrol cars pulled up to where they were. The first officer to get out of his car was the night sergeant. I knew him well from working with him against the shoplifters. His wife also happened to work in the same store I did. He greeted me by name, then asked the detective what was up?

The detective told him they were busting me for dealing drugs. The sergeant burst out laughing, then ordered them to uncuff me, get me out of the back seat, and let me pull my pants up. They had a brief power struggle, then the detective grudgingly let me out of the back seat, and uncuffed me. As I pulled up my pants he told me to still stay right there, and not to move. I did as I was told. When his detectives came back from searching my truck, they reported there was “Nothing there”.

The detective was angry, and again asked me “where is it?” I again asked what he was looking for. Then the sergeant caught on. He figured out that they thought I was down here dealing drugs. He explained to them who I was, and what I do down here every Sunday night. He explained that the entire rail yard, knows who I am, and I was the last person who would ever do, or deal drugs. He explained that I ride with The Posse, and many Sunday nights, the beat officers have come down and just hung out, ate popcorn , and chatted with me. The detective dismissed most of his team, and six of them left in three cars. The one who was this guy’s driver stayed, but stood away from us. The detective then explained how a couple of months before this, they had gotten an anonymous tip that there was drug dealing going on from the back of a pickup truck backed up to the tracks. So they set-up surveillance. They made sure to be down the road before I got down here, and position themselves so they could watch and collect evidence each time I met with any of the rail workers. They noted how I used the popcorn as a cover, and even the newspaper. They thought they had watched long enough, and had enough evidence, that they set up the bust for this night. At this I burst out laughing. The detective glared at me when I laughed. Then he explained that they had waited where I could not see them, but they could watch for me to make my deal, then they all came out at once. He explained how they were surprised there were no trains tonight, and how they had waited the whole time. The Sergeant asked why I had my pants down. The detective told him how I came over behind this shed to make the deal and that is when they busted me. The Sergeant still did not grasp why my pants were down. I decided at that point to tell the Sergeant what I was doing behind the shed. He laughed. He told me I was free to go.

The detective was not eager to let me go. He insisted I be cited, and not allowed to just walk away.  He and the sergeant had another power struggle. The detective seemed to have more power on this one, though. The detective wanted me cited for trespass, and indecent exposure. The Sergeant argued that trespass would never stick since I had the permission from the rail yard to be there. And the indecent exposure was only because of the detective ordering me to expose myself. So the detective decided to have me cited for “public urination”. Unfortunately, the Sergeant could not argue against this one. It seems the neighbors of the rail-yard have been complaining a lot about the rail workers , and others urinating publicly, and often visible to their homes. Even though I was behind a rail-shed, I could still be considered “publicly visible”. So the sergeant had to tell his officer to write me a citation. Then the Sergeant pretty much read the riot act to the detective, and chided him for not doing better research, asking the beat officers, or even checking it out with the railroad. He chided the detective for not running my plates, and doing a little background check. He told the detective he could have saved everyone a lot of trouble. The detectives then left in a mad huff. They had screwed up, and made complete fools of themselves. The sergeant advised me to not come down there for a while, because that detective would be looking for any reason he could to find something against me.

Well, in a couple weeks after that night, it was court day again. My court date was scheduled as the same date as the normal court-day, where I presented the evidence of all those who I had busted in the stores in the past month. There were a couple of cases called before mine was called. When the judge read my name on the docket, he looked up in shock. He asked how I plead to “public urination”, and I told him “guilty with explanation”. The sergeant was also there, and asked to speak on my behalf. The judge let him, but then took about ten minutes to read the full report, looked up and charged me with guilty, and set a fine. As he did this, many people in the courtroom started talking among themselves. Many audibly protested the judge’s decision. But there were many who were very happy about this. The judge called for silence, he explained to the entire courtroom how much time of the detective team I had wasted, and how I made them all look like fools, and I was lucky this was my only fine. I was furious, and more than a little ticked off that he would claim I had wasted the time of the entire detective team! I really did not care that I had to pay a fine for urinating in public. I did exactly that- urinated in public. I understand the laws. I support the laws. I do not support the crooked nature of the judge who would state it was somehow my doing that cost that detective team so much time and money. And I was even more furious that he thinks I had somehow made them look like fools! I knew better than to say anything to the judge.

Then the judge started calling the cases in which I was to present the evidence, and documentation. As he listed the names, and cases, he realized every one of these was involving me. He stopped reading the cases, and look at the entire court, and grinned. He told all of these people their cases were dismissed, there would be no charges, and that they were free to go. Those were the ones who earlier had been very happy to hear I was charged as guilty. The judge told them they could go, but ordered me to stay. After the court had cleared, he told me that he hoped I learned my lesson. I told him I would not urinate in public again. He grinned, and then told me, “No. The lesson I hope to teach you is to never make our detectives look like fools again.” I assured him that I would never make his detectives look like fools. He smiled quite proud, feeling he had done his detective buddies quite a good service. I was bit miffed that this judge had congratulated me over and over in the past year for doing such detailed work, and having solid evidence, yet when his buddy detectives made fools of themselves, he took it personally. At this I decided I had nothing else to lose, so I continued, and said “You and your detectives are quite capable of making fools of yourselves without any help from me.” And I walked out of the courtroom. As I left, I heard him say “You better hope I never see you in my court again!” I just smiled.

I had already decided management at PayLess was not where I belonged, and had already gotten my regional manager to approve my change of status back to hourly. I also had started the process of transferring back to Medford again. I was pretty confident that I would never see that judge again.
A few weeks later, everything was complete and ready for me to go back to Medford. All three stores threw a going away party for me at an awesome steakhouse, where they reserved the whole restaurant just for our party. Many of the police force showed up, and the entire Posse, along with many of the other equestrian people I had made friends with over the year while riding. Of course none of them could leave my “suspected drug dealing” and “public urination” alone. They all had great laughs all night about it… and so did I! When I would head to the bathroom, of course many of them would pretend to be those clown detectives, and stalk me. Then of course some would come in while I was peeing, and order me to put my hands up and turn around. It was all fun at that point, and every one of us thoroughly enjoyed the mayhem!
I had my moving van packed before I went to the party, and knew I would leave town first thing in the morning. The very last thing I was given by the entire group as I left the party was an enormous bag of that popcorn! (it took up the entire passenger seat of that moving van!) It took over an hour to leave as I got hugs and teasings from every single one of them. Even the toughest of Rough n Tough Posse all gave me hugs. I ate popcorn for breakfast the next morning. I ate popcorn while driving, and I ate popcorn while unloading the truck.

I still find it funny that anyone would ever spend more than half a minute watching me, and assuming I was dealing drugs!

While it did totally humiliate me, piss me off, and make me realize how crooked some agencies operate, I still will always support the local laws, and do everything within my power to never end up in jail.

As you munch your popcorn, may you happily watch the trains, and maybe you will have the excitement of some foolish detective thinking you are a drug dealer, and have the opportunity to be publicly humiliated, caught with your pants down, cuffed and stuffed into the back seat of a police car! …and hopefully they figure out the mistake they made before they haul you off to jail. ~=:-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Magic of (Naked?) Campfires

The Magic of (Nekkid) Campfires.

It is no secret that camping is one of the greatest ways to let go of stress, barriers, and worries.
It also is no secret that spending time naked outdoors will also do the same things.
Campfires are magical. Showering, or bathing, is magical. Naked outdoors is magical.
Combine any or all of these together, and people are automatically friendly, cheerful, and love to share that joy.

In the past, I have written about how wonderful outdoor showers can be, and also how people tend to be more comfortable, relaxed, accepting, and friendly when showering, or bathing in an outdoor area.
Seldom, if ever, will you find someone who is unpleasant when they are naked outdoors… this is especially true around showers, or campfires.

The experiences last week that made my birthday so wonderful also reminded me of some of my favorite experiences from many years ago.

In August 2005, I literally was running away from life as I knew it in Oregon. I was traveling across The U.S., and not exactly sure what I was looking for. I really had no path, or direction I was headed, but was wandering quite aimlessly. I was also suicidal at the time. I was searching, but had no idea what it was I was seeking. I did not have much money, so every dime I spent caused more stress. I would drive until I was so tired I was forced to stop and sleep. Sometimes I just slept in my car. Other times, I would sleep on a picnic table at a rest area. By the time I ended up in Massachusetts, I had been running about two weeks, and had pretty much settled into a pattern of only driving a short distance each day, then exploring the area, finding peace, resting, and seeking places I could freely be naked. I also had spent the previous year coming out of the naked closet. (You can see the blog about my coming out of the naked closet here:

I was seeming to only find peace when I could also be without clothes. Nature, it seemed, was where the answer was for my troubles. In the places where I was forced to wear clothes, I also noticed were the places where the thoughts of suicide also tended to dominate everything I did. Also, I noticed that the way people treated me when I was not wearing clothes was always kind, accepting, friendly, comfortable, and just plain honest. I had discovered that was the root. Remove the clothing, remove the lies and deceit. So, I sought out as many places each step of the journey as I could where I could be nekkid. I did not necessarily seek places where there were no other humans, rather I sought places of acceptance.

Without inviting others, or attempting to engage others, I found that when camping, others were naturally friendly. I found that when camping naked, others were even more friendly… not a phony friendly, but a true, genuine friendly and nice. I found that I enjoyed life, and never considered suicide while I was around these people. I found that in a clothed society, people would say mean things, and not be honest. In a naked camping society, everyone was nice. Even those who did not share the same views, would happily allow others to do as they wished, since nobody was ever being harmed.

This writing is not about the details of suicidal feelings, but rather about the pure joy one can find by sharing magical moments with others, helping others to discover, feel, and enjoy that feeling. While I always feel good when I am in nature, and also when I am naked, these feelings do not even begin to compare to that of helping others find joy, freedom, and acceptance in this world.

The feeling that comes from letting down all barriers, allowing others to let down their barriers, feel welcome, comfortable, and safe is like no other feeling ever! Those were the feeling I experienced on my birthday. (you can read that blog here: and here: )

When I was in Massachusetts, I was looking for a safe place to stop for the afternoon, and night. I was along the coast, and extremely disappointed, sad, and frustrated at how crowded every possible place to camp was. Most were completely full, without a single space to be found. The few I did find that had open spaces were so extremely expensive, I could not even begin to entertain the thought of finding rest, peace, or even someplace I could be safe. By the time evening came, I was frustrated, and ready to just start driving to endless destinations again.

I was about to give-up, and just drive on through the night. I headed in from the coast to find the highway out of that area. As I went down the road, I found an old apple-orchard with an old farmhouse which had been converted into a campground. It was primitive, to say the least. But the old lady who owned it had a sign out front that said “Camp & Shower $12”. The house was old, fairly run-down but at one time beautiful, and it caught my eye as I went past. As I slowed to admire the old house, and imagine the history it had seen, the small sign caught my eye. I drove past, then turned around and came back for another look. From the road, you could not see where the camping area was. It was clear that it was not a commercial campground, and it had me curious. I drove past two more times, attempting to get a view of where the camping was. For all I could see, it appeared there was not a campground. I finally pulled into the driveway, and when I did, she came out on her porch to greet me.

As I got out of the car, she chuckled, and asked how many times I had driven by before stopping. This made me laugh, and I could tell this was a safe place. Her plan was simple: give her twelve bucks, drive past the house, and park anywhere in her orchard to camp. Her only rules were: Be quiet. Don’t bother her. Respect others. I asked if nakedness was allowed. She grinned a toothless grin, and said “When you see the bathroom, you will know the answer.” From this spot on her porch, you could see around the house into the orchard. Then she pointed through the orchard to what looked like a screened-in tool-shed. Obviously if the bathroom only consisted of screening for walls, nakedness was not an issue! The orchard was mostly empty. There were about twelve other vehicles randomly about the orchard, and a few people milling about in their own areas being quiet. It was a large orchard, so it really felt wide-open, and like you were alone, even though there were others there. A few had camp fires going. She was safe, comfortable, and I knew this was the place I needed to spend the night. I gave her twelve bucks, and she went back inside. As her screen door closed behind her, she said “Thank you. Have a good night.” It was clear that she was not the type to worry about a receipt, or any formalities normally associated with campgrounds. I drove around the house, and found a spot to make my camp. As soon as I got out of the car, I got naked! The other campers never even gave me a second glance.

I went and checked-out the bathroom. It was elevated about six-feet above the ground. This made it at the same level as the surrounding foliage of the orchard. It had a small set of steps leading up to a screen door. It was simple with a sink, a toilet, and a shower. There was one wall inside the middle of the bathroom. It was the wall with the sink on one side, with a mirror above it, and the shower on the other. The toilet had small partitions on each side, but was open in front and back. The flooring was wooden with open slats for the water to just simply run out. The pipes ran up the wall. And that wall also served to keep the water from splashing toward the sink, and toilet. But the four exterior walls were completely screen. This was a wonderful bathroom! It was fairly secluded by the surrounding apple trees, but still wide-open. It had the feel of a tree-house, since the walls were wide-open, and surrounded by the treetops. It was hardly secluded, but it did not matter. The toilet, with its small partition walls was not visible from two of the sides, but from front and back was fully visible. It did not seem to matter. This was a campground that clearly attracted those without feeling the need for hiding.

I built a fire, set-up camp, had dinner, and relaxed. Nobody was camped near the bathroom, so even though it was fully visible, it also felt fairly secluded in the trees. Nobody paid any attention to when people went to it, or what they did, or did not do in there. I saw many people head to it, just as anybody would in any campground. Those who came by my camp said hi, were nice, and did not care that I was naked. Just like any campground would, there was a good mix of who was camping. There were singles, couples, families, there were old, young, and in between. Not once did anybody act creepy, or lewd about the possibility of seeing others showering, or using the toilet. Nobody lurked outside, or made extra trips up there while others were using it. There was respect, and acceptance.

As it got dark, most of the other campfires dwindled, and people went into their tents, and campers. As they retired for the night, some made trips to the bathroom and shower. When it was almost completely dark, one more car pulled into the orchard. They turned off their headlights, and just drove through the orchard with their parking lights, so as to not disturb the others too much with bright lights. This car drove slowly through, looking for where they would set-up their camp. They came past where I was standing naked by my fire. As they drove by, I could see little faces in the windows smiling hugely at me. I knew that look. It was the look a child gets when they see a naked person, and entertain the thought of possibly being allowed to run naked, too! I could not see the driver, but I waved, and saw a hand wave back from the driver. They parked and set-up in a far corner of the orchard.

When camping, I love to relax by the campfire, then after dark, I will shower, and then go back to my fire, still wet, and drip dry next to the warmth of the fire. I also will usually wait, so that there is not a crowd at the bathroom. People tend to all head to the bathroom just after dark, and just about the time they are climbing into their tents for the night. I hate when there is a line for a shower, or other bathroom facilities. I like to not be part of the crowd. This night was no different. Shortly after that car pulled-in, it seems everyone headed up to the bathroom. There was a sudden line for the shower, and toilet. I could never undertand the idea of standing in a line for the bathroom, or shower. Simply wait at your camp, then go up there when nobody was waiting. I also know that when many use the shower, it has a better chance of running the hot water completely out. This gave me plenty of reasons to just stay put for a while, carve my walking stick, enjoy the stars, and the fire.

I kept my fire going. I could tell from the voices that the car that had pulled in late was a mom and two young children. They were setting up their camp with a flashlight. They were fairly quiet, and respectful of other campers. They seemed to have done this before, and setting up while others were settling in to sleep was not a problem for them. They were quiet, but in the silence they could be heard occasionally.
The line for the bathroom had long since gone away, and the last person who showered had been a while, so I decided it was my turn to go shower. I wondered if the hot water would be lacking, but I was pleasantly surprised! It was a wonderful, hot shower! I put on my sandals, and walked, dripping and naked back to my warm fire.

Drip-Dry, Warming after Skinnydip
This is not from that same campfire, but it shows the feeling and mood well.
As I was dripping by my fire, a mother, and her two children came by to use the rest room. I recognized those two grinning faces as the two I saw go past in the car. When the mother said hi, I recognized the voice I had heard setting up her camp in the dark. They stopped and asked if after they used the restroom it would be alright if they came and enjoyed my fire, too. The two kids had been grinning the whole time, but not staring at me like I was naked. I knew that grin. I know the look of people who have experienced the wonderful feel of naked near a fire in a safe environment. We chatted a bit more, and I found out they did not have any firewood. They were on their way to shower for the night, and had expected to not be able to enjoy a campfire. The mom told me she could tell I was safe, comfortable and friendly from the moment they drove past earlier. They were completely comfortable, and felt very safe, too. I said that they were more than welcome to join me, and I would happily put some shorts on when they returned. The mom had never once looked at me as though I was naked, until I mentioned I would put some shorts on. She then looked demurely down at her feet for a moment. The daughter who was about 8, tugged at her mom’s pant-leg, and looked at her with pleading eyes.  The boy looked to be about 6, and he just grinned the whole time. She smiled, looked at her daughter’s pleading eyes, then said to her, ”Go ahead, ask.” The Daughter was now Beaming with pride, and looked up at me, and asked if they would be allowed to be naked when they joined me? I looked to the mom for an answer. She smiled big, and said, “Ever since we first saw you naked, she has been wanting to ask if they could be naked near your fire, too!” So I asked if she was alright with that. The mom was very pleased that I would ask her about it. She said she was very alright with it, and I could tell they were not trouble, and that the mom also had no other intentions toward me. (One of the key obstacles I was always facing about my new-found naked freedom was the way people had treated me in the past when I was naked, and trust was a huge factor. The one thing I always held true to was that I must feel totally safe while I am naked, or I will be fully covered in clothes.) I said “Enjoy your showers. I’ll build up the fire.”

And almost as fast as I had said that, the daughter was already naked! The girl picked up all her clothes, stuffed them into her bag, and was already running to the shower.  She was happy to be naked! The mom and I just died laughing! The son then looked to his mom, still grinning, and asked if he had to take his clothes off. She told him it was his choice. He kept his on until they got to the shower.

I walked over to where I had seen their campsite, and gathered their chairs, so they could have seats around the fire. I built-up the fire, and watched the night sky. When they had finished showering, they all hurried to drip near the fire. All three were completely naked, and happy. The girl looked so proud of herself. The mom looked pleased. She noticed their chairs, and smiled. The boy stood close to the fire for warmth, but also made sure to hide himself behind his chair so he was not visibly naked, but still grinning the whole time.

I could tell they all had their own worries and struggles they were battling in life, and I could tell the mom saw I had my own troubles, too. We comfortably enjoyed the fire, and chatted easily, keeping for a comfortable, light, and relaxed evening. The little boy was not talkative, but content to just watch the fire. He hid himself for about ten minutes, but then he seemed to forget about hiding, and just let the fire mesmerize him.   

The mom was fairly shy, and did not seem terribly comfortable being naked. She looked like she was not used to being so, and not sure what to do. She was not sure where to look, where to place her hands, etc. She was excited for her daughter, and you could see the joy as she watched her daughter play free in a safe place. She asked me how I could be so comfortable, and how come I never hid when they drove past. I told her some of my story, and some of the road I had come down to find this freedom. She still was fidgety, and looked a bit uncertain about something. I asked if she was comfortable being naked, and she admitted that she had never before just hung-out naked. She told me that her kids always used to when they were with her parents, but that she never did. She said she could never keep her daughter from being naked when the opportunity presented itself. Her son was always shy about being seen by anyone, but loved the idea of naked. She said he usually just grinned about it more than he ever really did it. He would happily be naked if he was certain nobody would see him.

The little girl was the absolute happiest little girl I had seen in a long time! She was so excited to be allowed to freely run around naked, she would not (or could not) sit still! She told me how they used to be allowed to play naked while they were at their grandparent’s house, and they would pretend they were camping while they were there. She then said that the grandparents had to move, and the new home did not have a yard, or allow children to stay there.  She looked a bit sad when she told me this, but then the grin resumed. She understood naked, and loved it! She never once looked at me like I was naked. She clearly did not care whether I was naked, or not, but was thrilled to be allowed to be so herself. It also was clear that it had been a long time since she had been allowed to just run around naked. She had felt the joy and freedom before, and was once again feeling what that incredible joy was!

She was getting really dirty while playing. She was totally enjoying the feel and freedom of being naked outdoors. I can understand that, too! There really is a feeling like no other than nature touching your bare skin! At first the mom tried to have her stay clean after she had just showered. But when the daughter said she would just go shower again, that made her laugh.

The mom laughed, and said “Anything to be allowed to spend more time naked, huh?” Then the mom turned to me, and told me the rest of how she decided to be naked tonight. She ended up at this camping spot pretty much the same way I had. She had promised to take her kids camping, but did not have a lot of money, any firewood, or much more than a tent, sleeping bags, and chairs to go camping with. It was last-minute decision, and they had not planned very well. They had spent most of the day at the beach, and not thought too much about finding a camp spot. By the time she was here, they were already tired, dirty, and had almost given up the idea of camping. They ate dinner at a fast food place closer to the beach. When she pulled in here, and inquired with the lady, she was happy to find a place that was cheap, comfortable, had a shower, and allowed kids, too! (I had not known that some of those I came through did not allow kids.) But the lady at the house cautioned her that her children might see naked people, and that the bathroom was far from private. At this, her kids grinned hugely, and asked immediately if they could go naked. The mom told them they would have to wait and see. Then as they pulled around the house, and past the bathroom, they saw someone showering without any shame. Then they came past my camp, saw me by my fire, and saw that I was comfortably naked, and never tried to hide as they came near. She also saw that when I saw the two little faces grinning, I gave a friendly wave, instead of doing anything rude toward her kids. As they were setting up camp, she watched as each person that went toward the bathroom reacted as they passed by me while I was naked, and also how I reacted.

So she told her kids that it was safe, and that after they had showered, they could be naked. She had planned to just let her kids be naked after the shower, and would be at their own site, or just walking across the orchard. The daughter kept asking the mom if she would get naked, too, and she said she was not comfortable being naked. They saw me go to the shower, and decided they would go after I was done. When the girl saw me come back to drip dry by my shower, she asked her mom if they could do that, too. She told them they did not have wood for a fire. The girl, said, “No, at His Fire!” The mom decided her daughter had a good idea. That was when they approached me. She said watching how proud her daughter was to have the courage to ask, and how fast she stripped when she knew it was ok, and how I did not react in any weird way, convinced her she needed to screw up the courage to give it a try. She said she had planned to keep her swim suit on when she showered because it was not private, but my naked freedom, and her daughter’s naked freedom convinced her to shower without any covering. She said it was liberating, free, and even fun to shower visibly and not worry about if anyone saw her. She still was not sure she would come outside the bathroom naked, and had planned to put clothes on. When she got out of the shower, and felt how wonderful the night air felt on her wet skin, she did exactly what I had done… put on sandals, and went to the fire to dry off.

After telling me all this, she realized she had actually relaxed, and had forgotten to think about being naked! She stopped telling her story, looked at me, and got the same grin her daughter had! Her son had fallen asleep, mesmerized by just staring at the fire. I went and got a blanket for her to put over him. She asked if I always spend the whole time camping naked, or just when it is dark. I assured her that I would still be naked until it was time to drive away the next day. The look on her face told the whole story: she had discovered how comfortable and free she finally felt. She had no intentions of putting on any clothes until it was time to leave. She then joined her daughter on the ground, and enjoyed getting dirty with her. After a bit of this, they both decided they were getting tired, and that they needed to go shower again. She asked if I minded that her son stayed there while they went to shower. I assured her it was no problem, and built the fire up again for their return. When they came back they dried by the fire again, both grinning hugely, and this time the mom did not look the least bit uncomfortable. They gathered their bags of clothes, and the daughter carried those, while the mom carried the son back to their tent. After she had gotten her son into his sleeping bag, she returned my blanket, gave me a hug, and then went back to her tent for the night.

It was not far from the ocean, and in the quiet night, I could hear the surf. I woke at sunrise to the wonderful scent of ocean air. It was chilly, the air was crisp, and the dew was glistening on every surface. My fire had mostly gone out, but there were still embers. I built it up again, while shivering slightly. The smoke hung low and filled the orchard. The sun was just coming over the horizon, and its warming glow first made all the smoke glow brilliantly orange, and the orchard looked like a magical story-land! I heard the little girl exclaim from the other end of the orchard, “Mom! Look!” The Boy said, “Woooooow!” The Mom said “Yup! This was the right place to camp last night!” Other campers could be heard unzipping their tents, and commenting on what the little girl had alerted them to, then retreated to their tents again. Just as the sun’s warming glow reached into the orchard, it reached every single drop of dew and the orchard looked like it was lit with thousands of tiny lights. The smoke still hung low in the orchard. The little girl came running over, still naked, smiling, pleased, and happy. She did not even say a word, just looked as content and comfortable as can be. She was soaking up the fire, the sun, and all that was safe and wonderful in this magical morning.

The mom, and son walked over with a little less enthusiasm. The mom was still naked, too, but sometime during the night, the boy had put his pajamas on. They both looked content, and also stood by the fire, a tad more groggy than the girl. Once the fire was going, I started the water heating for coffee. None of them said a word, and I was not concerned one bit. To me, this is a perfect morning camping. Get up naked, shiver a bit in the morning air, get the fire going, warm your cold parts by the fire, smell the smoke, and morning air, watch the morning come to life, get some coffee, and then the brain will start to form words.

I did not even ask, but made two cups of coffee, with creamer, and handed one to the mom. She just looked like this was the most perfect camping trip she had ever taken. After having some coffee, she looked at me, smiled, and said “Thank You”, then gave me a hug. The little girl took advantage of that moment, and joined the hug, and then quickly retreated like she was not there, but her grin was huge, and she was so incredibly proud of herself. I went to shower before there was a line. They stayed by my fire. While I was showering, several others came and went from the bathroom. One lady waited for her turn in the shower. When I came back, I did the usual drip dry by the fire. Then I started breakfast. The girl and boy looked again excited, and looked at their mom when they saw I was mixing pancakes, and cooking bacon. I smiled at the mom, and she knew I was planning to make enough for everyone. The girl asked her mom if they could have some, too, and the mom teased her and said, “Only if you put some clothes on.” The girl thought about that for a second, then said, that she would just skip breakfast. Ha! Her love of naked was more important than bacon and pancakes! Her mom thought that was pretty good. Then the girl said “I am not putting clothes on until we leave this campground.” Smart kid! :)

The mom told me they had just planned  to find a restaurant, so this was a pleasant surprise. She told me they were heading back to the beach, and then home. Then she asked where I was headed. I really had absolutely no idea, and that is what I told her. After breakfast, they all went to the shower, and I took down my camp. After the shower, the boy put clothes on, but the mom and girl stayed naked. They saw that I was dressed, and my car was fully loaded, and knew I was leaving. They each came and gave me a hug, and thanked me. I thanked them, too. The mom told me to have a safe journey. I told them to always find the joy, and freedom whenever possible. Then they walked to their camp, and I drove away.

I wish I could say that after leaving that camp, I kept going on a positive path, but I did not. I will save those details for another post.

That magical night naked at the campfire was one of many incredible moments in my life that I will always treasure. I do not get to think of these moments often enough. But this past birthday was so very similar, and so many of the same feelings resurfaced that I just had to get it written, and posted! Those people and that place made such a huge impression on my heart. …but sadly the events that followed took away some of the things I wish I could remember… such as their names, where they called home, etc. I am always horrible with names, anyhow, but it really tears at me when someone, or many someones, are so important in where my life has gone, or what has impacted me so much, that I can still clearly see their faces, and hear their voices, but cannot put a name with them. (I do recall that I think the mom's name was Sara, and the girl's name was Emily, but I really cannot be sure, so will not say those were their names.)

But even without being able to recall their names, I will always have that joy. This is the joy that fuels me, and makes me who I am. The joy to be able to share a safe, comfortable place. The joy of seeing a person overcome their own fears, knowing I am a trusted, caring person who they can relax around, and discover new freedoms… or rediscover long-lost freedoms. The feeling of knowing how much that night meant to that little girl, that mom, and that little boy. How much it meant to me. The feeling of knowing that I could not have planned, or even made such a thing happen on my own, and knowing that it was just meant to be, and all I needed to do was to follow where I am lead. The joy, of knowing that when I thought I was at my most miserable, I was able to be exactly what those people needed. I was just doing what I was meant to do, and going where I was meant to go. And the irony of what I was doing, and where I was headed that surrounded this night does not escape me. I stopped being suicidal just long enough to make a difference in someone else's lives. That is the beauty of it... when we stop the selfishness, the good just flows!

That is what drives me. That is what gives me the passion for others that I have. That is what makes me get up and live every single day.
I have said many times before, and I will continue to say it:
I do not write these blogs necessarily for anyone else to read, or for the glory of having known anyone has read them. I write them mostly for my own outlet. For finding a way to put into words my feelings, thoughts, and all the other things that flow through my mind. To me, it is a creative outlet, and also a kind of therapy to sort through, and express what I am feeling.

If my writings reach even one person who found something that they can connect with, or relate to it is more reward than I ever could have asked for. If my writings help even one person find hope, understanding, or acceptance, that is more reward than I seek. Perhaps one person will see something that they can identify with, and they find a healthier path to go down because of it, then I am blessed beyond reward. Perhaps someone sees this who knows someone who is struggling with similar issues, and can pass it along, then I am rewarded.

IF you are one of those, I would love to hear from you. I really do not to hear from anyone, but if I should that would make me smile!I thank you for reading my writings, and spending a portion of you valuable time reading what I have lived.

May You find the safe place near a naked campfire when you most need it. JOn~=:-)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Perfect (Nekkid?) Birthday, Part II

My Perfect (naked?) Birthday, Part Two:

My Birthday was an incredible, positive, and wonderful day! There were so many events that all combined to make for such a perfect day, they each could be their own blog, but I decided to write it as one… then decided to split it into two for separate posts. This is the second part of My perfect birthday:
You can see the first part here: ...or, just scroll down. It is at the bottom of this one :)

~Naked Alert!~
In many of these pictures, You will see me Nekkid. 
I tell you this now, so if you do not wish to see naked pictures, you can avoid them. 
None of my pictures will Ever be Sexual, Lewd, Obscene, or Illegal. They are Always Family-friendly, safe, and often funny! There are Not any Close-ups.
They are Simply of Me enjoying life (often in a humorous, and silly way) without anything to be ashamed of.
If you are not sure whether naked is acceptable, then you have a few options:
...You can choose to leave this page.
...You can look with an open mind, or with closed eyes.
...You can simply scroll past the photos, and choose to only read the story.
Often, those who are not sure if this is something they will feel comfortable with quickly find that they are actually quite comfortable with me, once they realize it is just simply the human body in a natural way.

Now, that I have covered the alerts, back to the story: 

I had spent a wonderful day exploring nature wearing only a hat, boots, and a smile:

A Peaceful, Wonderful Birthday!

Heron in Flight
A Beautiful Heron in Flight
A Bug's View

As the sun got low, I headed back to the bridge to watch the evening wildlife. The birds, ducks and turtles are always active just before sunset. I stayed nekkid, and after such a wonderful, free day, I was not at all concerned about who would come, or who would see me. I KNEW that anybody who came along this day was comfortable, safe, and the kind of human I enjoyed.

Oh, What A Great Day!

I was having a great day, and in the playful mood to take some more silly pictures. As I set up for these, I was aware of a large family approaching from the other side of the river.

I set up my camera so that they would not be in my shots. I was fully visible to them from the moment they came under the bridge, and knew that if they objected to a naked person they would not have come closer. They came all the way across, and were fully aware that I was there.

It was a family of a Man, a Woman, a newborn baby, three young girls about 5, 10 and 12, three young boys about 3, 8, and 14, and a small dog. They stopped just the other side of where I was playing, and got comfortable. The oldest girl, and dad waited until I was not taking photos aimed their way, and came over where I was to ask if they could play down here, too. It appeared she was the one who spoke the best English, and she seemed the most confident of the whole family. The dad stood back, and just nodded and grinned as she asked me. I told them they were welcome. She grinned, and then said something to her dad in Spanish. He said something back to her, then she sheepishly, but excitedly asked if I minded if they undressed, too. She looked like she was excited that she might be allowed to go nekkid, but also concerned I might object. As she asked, her eyes showed how much she was hoping I would say it was ok. I assured her that they could be as comfortable as they desired. The joy that filled her eyes was Awesome! She turned, and said something to her father. He smiled, and turned to go to his family. The girl looked across to her mom, and her mom gave her a nod with a smile. The girl was so excited, she stripped off her shirt before she was two steps away. She dropped the shirt right there, and then undid her skirt while walking. She let it drop right there, and walked right out of it. As her skirt dropped, she was already removing her underwear. She sat on the edge of a floodgate and removed her shoes, underpants, and socks, then she was already in the water before anybody else had even started undressing! She was the happiest girl in the world!  The mom was excited, too, and immediately took off her shoes, and skirt. She kept her top on, and went into the water in shirt and underwear, while holding the baby. The oldest boy did not undress at all. He also looked uncomfortable when his sister stripped, but then seemed to quickly forget she was naked. He kept his shoes, shorts (which went clear down to his calves), and  shirt on to get into the water.  The boy did not seem to mind that I was naked. The dad took off his pants, and shirt and left his underwear on, and I curiously noted that he was a male, and did not have a problem with nakedness. The youngest boy and girl did not hesitate to get naked. But they did not want to get wet, so they just played on the rocks, and floodgates. The little dog stayed with them. The middle girl decided she would take off her shirt. She wanted to keep her skirt on, but did not want wet underpants, so she took those off. When she got in the water, she discovered how fun a skirt is when it billows in the flowing water. She also discovered how much it pulled on her. Her mom and older sister tried to convince her to take it off, and just play. She was adamant that she did not want to be seen naked, and looked my way when she said it. Clearly I was the reason she wished to hide. The middle boy looked a bit like he wanted to join the others, but was afraid to be naked. He clearly did not want to get his clothes wet, and watched the others for a while. He wanted to get in, but was confused, or conflicted.
Splish Splash!

I continued to play, and enjoy the wonderful day, doing my own silly fun while they did theirs. They were just out of this picture to the right.

After another minute, the boy went behind a bridge pillar and took off all his clothes. He did not see his older sister sneak up behind him, and as soon as his clothes were on the ground, she took all of them, and put them up on a sign he could not reach.  She did this in a playful manner, and was only trying to be playful at getting him to come out of hiding while naked. He seemed to enjoy her playfulness, and did not seem to think she was being mean. He did not seem to hide himself from her, but did seem to hide himself from the other sister.  At first he would not come out from behind the pillar. Then his other sister (the one who did not want to be seen naked, and the exact one he was hiding from) came out of the water wearing her soaked skirt, and went to him, took off her skirt, and put it over his head. At first he attempted to cover himself from her view. He must have realized what she was doing, because he put his arms up and allowed her to fully pull it down to cover his naked body. She then led him by the hand into the water. The little boy looked so cute wearing that drenched skirt, but also looked quite relieved, and proud to have such a wonderful sister! She looked over at me, and smiled so big and proud of herself! She knew she overcame her fear of being seen naked, And she helped her little brother hide his own nakedness. He happily played in the water fully naked, except covered by a skirt, that was equally fun for him as it was for her. It only took a few minutes for him to decide to remove that skirt, and then he was fully comfortable naked, too! The oldest boy did not play near the others. He occasionally would smile at his sisters and brothers and their antics, but would not join them. He seemed to not be too thrilled about being with those who were naked. I continued doing my own silly stuff, and taking some fun photos (but making sure to never point the camera in their direction).

A Perfect Place For Ducky
They watched me play as much as I watched them play. Then, after they watched me take some pictures of Ducky, The oldest girl, and the girl who did not want to be seen naked, and the boy who had hidden behind the pillar came over to me, climbed out of the water and unashamedly all three stood naked next to where Ducky was. They asked if they could play with Ducky. I tied a rope around Ducky so they could play and not have him float away downstream. All this time, the parents were just totally beaming! Here, the oldest girl got her wish to be allowed to freely play naked. The middle girl overcame her fear of being seen naked, and the boy seemed to forget that he ever had an issue of ever being nekkid! They had a ball, and were free, comfortable, and accepting of the human body in the natural form.

Everything is prohibited... except Naked!
While they were playing under the bridge, I went up on top to get some more pictures.
During all of this several other people had come across the bridge, some stopped to watch all the fun happening below, others just went on by.

As I was taking one series of timed photos, a lady came marching right on up onto the bridge, fully seeing that I was naked, and did not slow, or hesitate one bit. She literally stepped directly over the camera, and was saying hello to me, and commenting on what a beautiful day it was, then all of a sudden, it dawned on her that she just stepped over and into the frame of the camera which was beeping, and flashing a light to indicate it was active. The antics that then took hold of her brain were priceless! She could not form words to complete here thoughts, and I was too busy laughing to say anything, either! Then I went to the camera, opened the display screen so she could see it, and proudly showed her what She did. She looked absolutely horrified to have walked into the picture with a naked man! (yet she had no problem just being with me, or talking with me while I was nekkid… only the thought of her being IN the pictures horrified her.) After I showed each one to her, I jokingly asked if she wanted me to email them to her. She looked soo absolutely horrified, it was priceless! I told her I would delete them right in front of her. That helped calm her down. I did delete each one of those with her watching as I did. Then, once that fear was settled, suddenly she realized she was literally touching, and leaning in to see the screen with a naked man. She jumped at least four feet! I asked if she was always a basket case. To which she stammered a hesitant “yes”. I told her to wait a second, and ran down below the bridge to get a card from my pack. She did wait, and she went and looked over the edge, and was amazed at all the people playing naked down there. When I came back up, she said "I wish I could learn to relax like that!" I gave her the card. She took it, but looked so flustered I am betting she never contacts me again!

A Perfect Hike on My Birthday!She hurried across the bridge before I set the camera up to shoot again. I redid that series, and got even better shots than the first set! 

A Perfect Hike on My Birthday!

What a perfect Evening!

I went back below the bridge, and when the family was ready to leave, the man and the oldest daughter came over. He had already dressed, but she remained naked. She returned Ducky to me, and asked if I had a Light (as in to light his cigarette) I did not. I gave them a card for Ducky’s site, and they again thanked me. She read the card, and noticed The Flickr information. Then she said something in Spanish to her father. He nodded toward me. She then asked me if I had taken any pictures of them. I assured them I had not, and even turned on the camera viewing screen to show them. As I scrolled back, they were enjoying the pics they saw I had taken, and were pleased to see that I was as honest as I said, and had not tried to sneak any photos of them. The girl asked if all of these would be posted to the Flickr account. I told her they would. She smiled, and said that she would love to show her friends how wonderful it is down here. I also told her that I would write about her and her family in my blog. She said something to her dad, he smiled, and she thanked me again. It seemed they were pleased to have made an impression on me and that I would write about them. I told her it may be a few days before I write the story. She just smiled and nodded. The rest of the family had gotten all their clothes back on, and they were ready to head home. The oldest girl loved her freedom, and wanted to stay naked. She picked up all her clothes, and was pleading with her mother in Spanish. Her mother looked back at me again, and had a look of understanding. She nodded to her daughter. Her daughter was thrilled with whatever was decided. She put her shoes on, and marched away happily naked, wearing nothing but shoes and a smile! (So, somewhere is a family that is featured in this blog, and sharing this with their friends.... to this wonderful family... I hope you continue to find love, acceptance, and share the joy with others!)

Can Ya Find Ducky?

After the family had left, I was able to get some more photos of the entire area without alarming them, or getting them in any of the shots.

Sunset over Wetland, with Strip on Horizon

While I was watching the sunset from the bridge, another family came by. All of them, except the dad said hi and smiled as they went by. When I had crossed back into the main part of The Wetlands, it was late enough in the evening that I knew I was safe to be nekkid for the rest of the way through The Wetlands.

I hiked all the way through to the parking area before getting dressed again. I did pass many more people while hiking back to the parking area. One family that I passed was especially humorous. There was a dad, a mom, a boy about four, and a girl about six. The mom smiled and said 'Hi.' The dad pretended he did not see me. The girl was busy looking at everything all around, including me, but never looked like she saw anything unusual. After they passed, the girl started laughing, and said, "Daddy! Did you see?" He hesitated a bit to decide how to approach this, and the mom was snickering. The mom said teasingly to him, "Yes, Daddy, did you see?" He cautiously asked the girl, "See What?" She said, "Daddy! That man had a Huge Rubber Duck on his Pack!" To this the man sighed, and the mom burst out laughing. It is things like this that make me wonder how, and when people transform their life-loving, and fully-accepting of others kids into hating, judging, humans. Kids Never have a negative view of the human body, until somebody teaches them to suddenly no longer accept it.
This was one of the absolute best birthdays I have had in many years! Was it just because I got to play nekkid? Nope. It was because it was A Perfect day! I was able to be free, comfortable, and relax in an environment loaded with things to enjoy, love, and watch. I saw critters, turtles, birds, and even many other humans. But the humans I saw were comfortable, peaceful humans... the kind I find joy in! I got to spend a day in the warm sun, in an environment where there is peace, love, acceptance, kindness, and overall happy people, animals, and nature.
Evening Skinnydip
Even the birds went for a sunset skinny-dip :)

The humans I encountered on this day were the right kind and helped make it a perfect day. Would it have still been perfect even if I never got to be nekkid? Good question. It WAS Perfect, and I doubt I will ever know how it would have been if I had not had the chance to enjoy it nekkid. Sometimes, everything just lines up so that everything is perfect! The fact that I spent much quality time without any clothes is just a result of everything lining up that was meant to be. I DO treasure days like this, and often wish Every day could be spent so freely. While I do not pretend to understand why our society has become the way it is, I know that under the right circumstances, Most people will accept and even celebrate who you are as an individual... I just wish people as a whole would do this on a daily basis.

However you define "The PERFECT Day", however you define a Great Birthday... May you find more of those in your near future. Thanks for accepting me for who I am, and even if you won't come along in life with me, thanks for reading, and possibly understanding a little bit more about what peace, love, and acceptance are all about. JOn ~=:-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Perfect (Naked?) Birthday!

The Perfect (nekkid) Birthday

Would it have been perfect even if I had not been naked? Good Question! I got the opportunity to enjoy it naked, so I did! Why Naked? One word: Freedom. Feel free to read many of my past posts to get a grasp of why naked is so wonderful. I know most see “naked” and immediately assume it is sexual. Nope! Simply Naked is not at all sexual, illegal, or even anything to be ashamed of.  If you are not sure whether you can read about someone living life naked with an open mind? Come, and see… Just remember to enter with an open mind, or with closed eyes.

March 30 is the date I entered this place called Earth 44 years ago. How did I spend My Birthday?
I Relaxed. I Played. I spent as much time in nature totally naked as possible.
A Perfect day! I was able to be free, comfortable, and relax in an environment loaded with things to enjoy, love, and watch. I saw critters, turtles, birds, and even many other humans. But the humans I saw were comfortable, peaceful humans... the kind I find joy in!

In Vegas, the warm weather comes early (sometimes). This year, we hit temps above 80-degrees in the final days of March. Of course we have also had temps in the 40’s, and even some Cold winds making it feel like winter. And, Ironically, today is April 1st, the temp is barely 50, and the winds are howling off the snowy mountains. Last week, Spring arrived, and with it, I moved my favorite chair out to my balcony so I could enjoy as much time outside as possible. So, today, I am writing this while bundled in hat, gloves, and multiple blankets… at least until the sun hits this area.
Ahhh.. a relaxing morning on my balcony.

But on March 30th, we hit 85. It was the perfect opportunity for me to go outside and play naked in nature!
The morning of my birthday was fairly warm, but with a chilly breeze, so I relaxed during the morning with some clothes on. This picture shows how wonderful a relaxing, warm, yet slightly breezy morning can be for me!

Once the day warmed-up, I headed out to play, escape, and find peace, nature, and wonder in this otherwise chaotic city.

Not far from the sprawl of Vegas sits a nature-wonderland. It is called The Wetlands Preserve Nature Park. This is a place where every bit of water that flows from Vegas merges and creates a wonderful river, wetlands, marshes, ponds, and incredible  sights that otherwise cannot be found for many miles. The amount of water that flows through here is at times mind-boggling, especially since you are fully aware that we are Smack in the middle of The Mojave Desert. The Wetlands is an area that goes for many miles where no motor vehicles are allowed, the plants, critters, and animals thrive, and it is a treasure, and joy to escape to this place. It would seem that for many years work has been done to make this possible. (Although last month I discovered a huge chunk of The Wetlands that has been torn-up, where they removed all vegetation, trees, and marsh, are installing roads, parking lots, and lots of concrete. It tore my heart up to see all the destruction!) Even with that destruction at the Southern end, the place encompasses many square miles so there is still part of it that is pure, and only accessible by hiking. This purely nature part is where I went for my birthday.

As I headed out from home, I dressed in Denim shorts, My comfy boots, and layered shirts, on top. The sun was warm, but there was still a chilled breeze, plus the busses are usually air conditioned, so sweatshirts are a must. (For some odd reason, the moment the temps get above 60, the busses run their A/C and keep the interior at about 40! It is completely ridiculous, because they have no concept about just maintaining a comfortable 65-70 degrees. But that is a blog for another day… back to my birthday!)

Nature and places about nature create an environment where people forget about all the nonsense, and silly rules that tend to imprison us in the city. When you venture into an outdoor, natural area, people tend to accept other humans for what they really are. We, as humans are funny by how we create such rules for in the city, but allow others to be themselves in nature. In nature, people relax, accept, and welcome what they would be freaked-out by in the city. In nature, nobody freaks-out at the sight of the human body. Nobody cares if the human has sags, wrinkles, jiggles, dimples, bumps, or character. In nature, nobody cares if you are skinny or round, tall or short, have smooth skin, or if your skin could be used as a topographical map. Nobody cares if you are hairy, or clean-shaven head to toe. Nobody cares what the color of your skin is, what your religion is, or even if you have no religion at all. Nobody cares what country you were born in, or even what language you speak.

By the time I reached the Wetlands, the temps were well above 70, the sun was shining, and there was a warm breeze. The parking lot was crowded, and this was the first time I had actually seen crowds out here. That did not change how things are in nature.

Ahhh, 80 degrees on my Birthday!
This meant that the very moment I was past the parking area, I could strip off most of my clothing. I say “most” because as a general rule, any place where people can drive to, or not walk more than five-minutes, they still tend to stick to their city-rules as far as what they accept. But once they walk more than five-minutes, the rules and their attitudes change. So, the moment I am past the parking area, I change into my “short-shorts”.  They are spandex/ lycra shorts that are designed specifically for exercise, comfort, and a snug, practical fit. These shorts are fun, comfortable, and ironically, smaller than many people would consider underwear. (The topic of “what is underwear” would be yet another blog in itself) I follow the rule of wearing as little as possible without creating problems for others.

The Wetlands Parks has many sections. The West-side is where the parking area is. This area is also full of paved-paths, and tends to have lots of easy access, and this is where you will find lots of people who do not wish to venture far from their cars. The paved trails make full-wide loops around this entire section. From these paved trails, there are also many dirt-trails meandering through the hidden areas to explore, and find birds, critters, fish, and insects. Many have children, toddlers, and even are pushing strollers. This is also a good, safe place for people to allow their kids to run, play, and be free without worry of harm, traffic, or people intolerant of kids. Yet, at the same time, these same people feel like they have escaped the city, and are here to explore nature… just without leaving the paved comforts of the city. Fortunately, they leave their city-views in their cars, and allow themselves to relax, enjoy, and play.

Egret finding lunch
The trails and paths meander through various marshes, ponds, streams, trees, meadows, and assorted benches, shelters, and rest areas.
In this side of The Wetlands, I will comfortably strip down to only my short-shorts, my boots, and my hat. If you are quiet, you can see, and get really close to all sorts of fun wildlife. Often, I will discover an egret, duck, heron, dragonfly, turtle, or other critter. I will stop and watch, and it usually is not long before some kids come ambling along the path. The kids are smart enough to know that if they see an adult standing still, they know there is something to see. By the time the lagging parent catches up to where the kids have stopped, they are pleasantly surprised to find that their kids have gathered around where I am, and are looking at the same thing I had found. The kids are always eager to show the parent what treasure they had found. The best thing about these kids is that they are so excited about seeing nature, that they never even notice the Giant Rubber Duck on my pack! Often, the parent(s) are thrilled that I was there, and showed their kids where to look. Most of the time, it is only a mom with the kids. For whatever reason, seldom does a dad come out on these adventures. (Also ironic, is how women always accept me for who I am, but the men act weird toward me, and my unique style of life. Women never make me feel at all uncomfortable, self-conscious, or even like I am somehow out-of-place.) But never do the women or kids ever look twice at my clothing, or more importantly the lack of clothing. This is nature, and anyone who comes out here is there for that purpose… to enjoy nature, be free, play, explore, relax, and have fun.

On my birthday, the place was very crowded, and surprisingly, there were a lot of men along with the women and children. At first, because of how men usually treat me, I was cautious about stripping down to almost no clothes. But I decided to do what I knew I needed to do, and not allow the men to make me uncomfortable.

See anything? I do :)
See that little white spot on the far edge of the pond?
It is the Egret I pointed out to the kids.
I had found a small pond with an Egret perched in a low tree about forty-yards from the edge of the trail. I was stopped there, and taking pictures, when I heard plenty of kids coming through the marsh. The first little girl saw me, stopped, and turned to the rest, motioning them to be quiet. As soon as she turned and motioned to the others, they instantly got quiet. The kids furthest back down the trail could be heard telling the parents to be quiet. It made me smile. The first little girl came right up beside me, and in a quiet voice asked what I saw out there. I pointed out where she should look, and let her find The Egret for herself. She was thrilled! As each of the kids joined us, she was so proud to do the same. She clearly was the leader of this group! There were about ten kids in this group. They all gathered real close to the edge of this pond right where I was. When the parents came around the trail, there were two men, and three women. The men stayed way back, and hardly looked interested in what the kids were excited about. The three women came to join their kids.

Egret watching me
This is The Egret we were watching across the pond.
One of the women asked if the kids were bothering me. I chuckled, and assured her they were not a bother. At this, the first little girl told all the others that if it was not for me, they would have passed-by this treasure. Another woman asked about the Giant Rubber Duck. The kids heard this, and were suddenly looking for what they had missed. It was hilarious to watch as they realized that they had all not seen it! I gave them some cards to find Ducky’s page. Several of them took pictures. After a bit, they all decided it was time to go on their way down the path. The entire group of women, and kids accepted me, did not care what I was, or was not wearing. They all thanked me, and went on their way. The men never even said hi, or looked like they knew I was there. (and people wonder why I get along better with women, and kids!)

The Bridge to adventure :)
The Bridge to Adventure :)

After meandering through much of the West-side, I was ready to leave the concrete, and go where I could play nekkid! There is a bridge that spans The Las Vegas Wash, and that bridge is also the gateway to where the entire feel of the place changes. Across this bridge, it is a bit more rugged, and rough. There are still paths, trails, and plenty of public places, but it has a bit of a more free-feel to it. Often, the people with kids only go up on the bridge, but seldom cross it. Occasionally, some will venture below the bridge, and explore the floodgates, spillways, and flowing water, fish, ducks, and interesting reeds, cattails, and marsh wildlife. Even if I see an occasional human on, and under the bridge, I seldom see more than one or two other humans on The East Side. This day was different. There were lots of humans all day long.

Shady rest break! (after this shot, I spent the next three hours wearing only boots and hat! :)
The shorts I wear hiking :)

I crossed the bridge, and decided to rest for a bit in the shade below the far-end of the bridge. Once I cross the bridge, this is where I can strip-off any remaining clothes, and just play totally nekkid for the rest of the day. The bridge is a high-vantage point, and from there anyone on it can see the entire area for many miles. Also from the bridge approaches, you can clearly see under and all around the bridge, so it is hardly a secluded area. From on top of the bridge, you can clearly see what is under it. Also, while under it, you can clearly see what is on top of it, because the sides are wide-open railings, and what you cannot see directly, you can see in the shadows cast below. I hardly expect that I am in any secluded, private place while down here. Nor do I expect that I cannot be seen, or am somehow invisible. I actually go about my nakedness as if I am always visible, so as to not ever cause surprise, alarm, or to ever seem like I am attempting to surprise anyone. This area under the bridge is a treasure of wildlife to watch at any given time. The bridge goes over the spillway flood-control gates built into the flowing waterway.
 I took this picture, and then got completely nekkid for the rest of the day. Woohoo! I got to play nekkid on my Birthday!

After I got nekkid, I was watching some turtles in the water, and I could feel someone watching me. When I looked up, I saw this girl crouched taking my picture from the other end of the bridge.

Saw this Girl across the water... about 60 yards away.
As soon as she saw me looking, she got up and scurried away… so I took her picture. J
I usually won’t take pictures of others, especially if I am not sure they would want their picture taken. But since she took mine, then fled, I felt it was fair. I laughed that she felt she needed to “sneak” a picture of me, since I was clearly not hiding, or avoiding being seen.

Ahhh! A Great way to spend my birthday!
The view across under the bridge...and happy feet! :)

I went to explore the rocks below the floodgates. I left my pack, clothes, and camera sitting in the shade. I also left Ducky sitting on the concrete platform near the water. While I was on the rocks, a woman with four kids came across the bridge. I watched them curiously, but did not change what I was doing, or head back toward my pack and clothes. There were three girls, and one boy. The girls looked to be between the ages of five and ten, and were occasionally looking my way as they crossed the bridge. The boy looked to be about 11 or 12, and had seemed to not even notice I was here. The mom looked my way briefly. When it was clear that the woman was looking my way, I gave her a friendly wave to let her know I knew they were there, and it was not a problem. She waved back. They were no longer walking, but had stopped to watch the ducks below. She did not ever look at me like I was naked. Other than the friendly wave, she hardly noticed me. Also, she never tried to steer her kids away, or to keep them from looking my way. The mom was curiously watching each of her children, and also the birds, and ducks. The girls kept looking my way, but not in a surprised way, just like any person would glance at another enjoying the same activity. They smiled shyly, but never stared, or looked at me like they were seeing something they had never seen before. The boy never once looked my way, and I was wondering if he had not yet seen me, but it was clear the girls had seen me long before I saw them. I was not looking their way when the boy finally noticed me. He shouted “That man is naked!” The mom just laughed. Each of the girls just giggled, then one said “duh!”. The boy stared at me, but the girls had already seen, and this was not news to them. They were more interested in the ducks, and birds. The older girls occasionally looked my way, almost like they were happy to be allowed to see, but knowing they should not stare, or act like it is unusual. The youngest girl looked and grinned for longer periods. The mom watched their reactions, and smiled at each as they watched. They finished crossing the bridge, and the mom and girls came down to the area where I was. The boy stayed up on the end of the bridge. They tried to convince him to come explore and play where all of them were going, but he refused, and just sat down and waited up there. The girls went down under the bridge where my pack was, and to explore the spillway gates, and play in the water. The youngest girl saw Ducky, and grinning hugely asked if she could play with him. I told her she could, as long as she did not let him float away. The mom came over to me. She said hi, then asked if they were bothering me. I assured her they were fine, but expressed my concern about her son being mortified to see a naked person. She just laughed and said she did not know why he behaved that way, and she has always taught them that acceptance, and understanding was the right way to live, and how a place like this was a healthy place to be free. She said she was not sure how come her daughters understood this, but her son did not. She assured me that I was not a problem, and told me that she and the girls saw me long before they ever crossed the bridge, She said she had seen me long before they even started to cross the bridge, and she could tell I was safe, so proceeded to cross the bridge. She watched as each of the girls discovered me, and was pleased at how they looked, smiled, looked again, then looked at their mom to see if it was ok. Not one of them said anything, but just looked occasionally, and smiled. She told me each one did the same thing, and she just allowed them to make their own decisions about how to proceed. Each of the girls was happy to discover, and be allowed to see a naked person in a safe environment. The boy never noticed, and the girls never said anything. Her son only saw me once he was right where I was, and he was the only one surprised. She pointed out how her daughters only glanced my way a couple of times, grinned a bit, then went on to see other sights. As they left, the little girl thanked me for letting her play with Ducky, the other two waved, and thanked me. They went back across the river by going across the floodgates under the bridge. The son went back across the top, so he would not come near a naked person. The funny thing was he never stopped staring at me. This is yet another example of how come I just do not understand males. If he was unhappy, or offended, why was he staring at me? Why is it that the females are always accepting, courteous, and polite, yet the males always freak-out, stare, and act like being near a naked person is somehow a bad thing? Who teaches them to behave this way? The Mom and daughters were well-adjusted, happy, and there to enjoy all that is available in nature, yet the boy could see nothing but a naked person? (I had thought that since he did not see me from far away, but suddenly once he was close is significant…yet, the girls all saw me and were not surprised, but a few minutes later, I saw that he was just not comfortable around any naked.) After they crossed to the other side, they settled under the shade of the bridge, and ate their lunch. The boy finally came down to join them. As I was gathering my pack to head on downstream, I saw the boy hurrying up on top of the bridge again, then I noticed why: The mom and girls had taken off their clothes, and were playing in the water. The girls knew how to enjoy life. For some reason that boy would not allow himself to enjoy what was so common, free, and natural. Clearly, this family was not ashamed, or hid their nakedness, but the boy had somehow gotten the idea naked was bad. He clearly had seen his mom and sisters naked before, and they clearly were not at all embarrassed, but he seemed to flee from it. (which always makes me wonder why males get so weird about simple nakedness.)

Happy Couple
After that, I headed further downstream. I found many birds, and ducks to watch. The interesting thing about this part of The Wetlands is that only the water divides the two sections. Just twenty or thirty yards across is where the paved paths go along the edge of the water. I was on the unpaved side, and often I would look up to see people waving and saying hi from the other side. Not once did any of them care that I was naked. They were there to enjoy the same things I was enjoying, and a naked person did not change anything for them.

Many hours later, I headed back toward the bridge. I had passed many people while nekkid, and most of them waved, and said hi. Some of the men would hurry on past, while the women they were with would stop to give a genuine “hello”, or a happy wave. By this time I had stopped keeping an eye out for who might be approaching, or even if anyone was watching me. The day was a perfect example of how people will let you be yourself while in nature. Some would stop, and some would pretend they did not see you.

A Man and His Giant... Duck!
But when I stopped to take the set of pictures that included this one, I had to laugh! Just as I set the camera timer, and started this series of shots, two ladies who were out for a walk, stopped literally just behind where the camera was to laugh, and watch my antics! I was already in the middle of the action when they appeared. It just made me laugh! I had gotten so used to being watched, seen, and people being around me today, that I never even noticed they were right there when I set up for this series of shots! The two ladies were clearly having fun, and were quite happy to have been able to watch, and take their own pictures while I was taking mine! It was hard for me to not laugh, or make funny faces! (I always know I am visible to others, and also expect that I will be in their photos, too!) After the camera timer finished, I stopped to talk to them. They had been watching me for quite a while. They were on a brisk walk for several miles around The Wetlands. They saw me, and the Giant Rubber Duck from the paved paths on the other side, and also when they were crossing the bridge. Then, they came down the trail toward where I was so they could see what I was up to with This Duck. To their surprise, and Mine, too, I had just set-up and started these shots! I gave them each a card so they could find Ducky’s page. They went away, laughing, and thanking me for brightening their day! (They brightened mine, too!)
My Birthday was an incredible, and wonderful day with many events that all combined to make for one fantastic day! Because there were so many events, and each could comprise its own blog, this is a rather long writing. I decided to break this blog into two separate parts, so it is not such a long-read.
I will post the second part another day. ~=:-)