Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Farewell Summer, The Final (Skinny) Dip?

Happy Fall! Happy Last Dip of Summer!

Yesterday was the last official day of Summer.

So many things I love about this photo:

Well, I did not go to enjoy the pool because it was the last day of Summer. I went because I could :) Took an extra day off work so I could be sure to have at least a moment free for Caitlin, before she had to leave town again. Even a short Visit with a dear friend is better than no visit at all.  There is something quite pleasing about knowing you took a paid-day off from work, and you are getting paid for having an absolutely wonderful day!

I got up before the sun, went to join Caitlin for breakfast, and enjoy what little time we had before she hit the road back to LA. Caitlin is similarly like minded and free as I am. So when it came time for a few playful pictures before she left, it was a no brainer… and of course, Google took all our goofy pics, and made this Awesome GIF :)

After she departed, I went to visit another dear friend, Frankie. Oh, it is too long between cherished visits! Then, I decided to take care of the few errands/ shopping I needed to do, so I would have the entire rest of my paid day off to enjoy the final day of Summer.  I had not given it much thought, just went with whatever flowed easily.

I also had done all my laundry on Saturday (my normal day off) so I was as free as possible on Sunday. Also on Saturday, I managed to finish writing a blog I had hoped to get done (you might find it interesting, and gain a bit of understanding about when I was Suicidal). Other than a few photos, it was ready to publish. It was wonderful that I felt so free. I decided to go soak up what little bit of sun, warmth, and water I could before it got too cold as Fall was fast gripping the region.

I Live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Summer seems to last much much longer when you live in The Desert. But we cannot take it for granted. As soon as September comes, even though the mid-day temperatures are still in the 90’s, and occasionally hold on at 100, there is no denying the Fall is taking away our Summer. Once September comes, The Earth’s tilt is evident as the Sun Suddenly no longer shines on The Pool, and only a small sliver of pool deck is in the sun. The water quickly loses its heat, and The Earth once again matches the temp of the water. While the water easily is above 80 degrees in July and August, come September, it dips to 60, even into the 50’s real fast. To me, That is COLD! I will still get in and swim, but I gotta keep my dips short, and get into the sliver of sun as fast as possible to regain my body’s temp.

After I had found just enough sunshine, placed my lounge, arranged my towels, I went for a swim. This was my view as I stood on the first step. 

See the Wall of clouds over Yonder? To me it looked like a wall of waves rolling toward me. The clouds were seeming like the giant wave about to wipe out the sandcastles built on the beach.  A reminder that those castles are only temporary, much like summer is. The wave is coming to wipe out the summer castles on the beach.

Notice the sun does not actually shine on the pool any more, just on the tiny corner of the deck. This photo captures the cold of the water, the sunny warmth of the air, and the fleeting sun’s beam in which I could lay. As you look upon this photo, feel the cold water rippling gently against your feet and legs. Watch those clouds roll and build like a giant wave about to wipe out the sandcastle of summer. Feel how cold the water is. Feel the warmth in the wind. Take another step, feel the cold water grip your more sensitive regions. Oh! It feels wonderfully refreshing, yet you also notice how cold it really is. You ponder: do you really want to immerse yourself completely? Or is just wading to this depth good enough?

You know THIS May be The Last Time you enter the pool.

You decide to go for it, knowing that sunny lounge is right there to warm your cold bits.
Oh boy, Here goes!

I waded one more step, so I would not splash much. (I like to gently get into the water, not jump in.) I love the sensation of feeling every ripple, the variances of the layers of temperatures in the different depths, the feel of the gentle currents. As I stood about to take what might easily be The Last Dip of Summer, I decided Today was a Skinny Dip Occasion. This pool is hardly secluded, is totally a fish-bowl, and visible to anyone who happens to glance this way. I skinny dipped once before in Early August when I first moved here, so I already knew I could if the time was right. Today, it felt right. I slid my shorts down to my ankles, dipped to my shoulders, and pushed off allowing my shorts to float free behind me as I went. Oh, How I miss true freedom! This Summer seemed to present less naked freedom than most in my recent past. Skinny Dipping is one of the most free things I enjoy. The irony that My Final Dip of Summer happened to fall on a Sunday Afternoon, and I was getting paid for it was not lost. THIS was THE MOST CHERISHED SKINNY DIP!!

I Love to swim!! I Love to Skinny Dip! I usually do not enjoy cold water, But this time, I seemed to not feel cold. I swam underwater all the way to one end and back. (Mind you, this pool is tiny, so don’t think I am some sort of miracle swimmer.) But The Freedom was so wonderful. The feel of the water against every cell of my bare body was delightful! I came up for a breath at the same place I started. I was going to call it “good enough” and get out. Yes I was cold already. I normally would get out into the sun by the time I was this cold. But I knew I NEEDED to savor as much of this as possible. THIS WAS MY LAST DIP OF SUMMER. I always know that such choices come with consequences. My body has Zero insulation, and I get dangerously cold Very fast. But I felt the danger was worth it today. I Knew there was my tiny spot of Sun for warming, and knew I did not need to be totally mind-alert the rest of the day, so what the heck, go for the cold-induced Coma, right?

I swam many more laps. I did not count, nor do I have any idea how many minutes I was in the water. At one point, I noticed one of my neighbors had brought a chair onto the balcony. She was smiling, and watching. I did not mind. I never worry about the ones who can see the enjoyment in simply living life without barriers. I used to live in fear. I used to panic at the “What if’s” when I might be seen. Part of the joy in finding freedom is learning to live in the moment, not live in fear, and never get a chance to enjoy life. The freedom was great, but I was very cold, and needed to get into the sun. When My body reaches that point, I must get it warm immediately. (Yes, even nekkid, there is too much of a good thing, and it can turn not-so-good.)At the point when I decided I was Too cold, I was dangerously close to becoming unconscious. I was at the deep end, and could not manage to stay in the water even one more lap. I climbed out using the deep-end ladder, and while I really wanted to just immediately go lay in the sun, I Knew I could not be so free outside of the water. I walked to where my shorts were floating by the steps. The lady on the balcony giggled as I bent to retrieve them. Odd as it may seem, even when cold has shriveled me to almost non-noticable size, I still do not mind others noticing, as long as they are not mean about it. Pretty sure she was just giggling at the overall freedom I had found. (I later found out it was the freedom, AND the cold-effect she was giggling at, but she was in no way mean, just enjoying the moment. She came to visit me in my apartment later, and mentioned she loved the freedom I lived by. She also laughed and mentioned she was glad to see I had gotten warmer.)

I put my shorts on, and went quickly to my sunny spot. I fell asleep almost immediately, since the cold had zapped all my energy. But that, too turned into a cherished thing. Napping in the sun after such a great swim, was so refreshing! I slept for almost an hour in the sun. This of course helped keep up my now wanting to fade tan. Yay! Still Tan for at least another week! As Fall overtakes the region, I will quickly turn pale again.

My Final Swim and Skinny Dip of Summer will Always be Cherished.
Skinny Dip
Yup! This is my pool. Hardly secluded. This sign happens to be here,
I took this in the end of August, then added the word Skinny to it.
I wonder if The City really had any idea how true this sign was when they placed it....

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I Was Sentenced for Life, For Skinny Dipping!

Wanna find out what is legal and what is not in New York State?
I Got Life, Just for Skinny Dipping!

Find a Very Remote place to go for a swim. Alone. You will be amazed how fast a State Trooper will show up, even though you had not seen one for hours.

Found this funny one on Pinterest!
(Well, Wrong Kind of Trooper, But it made me laugh.)

When I was suicidal in 2005, I also was taking care of my everyday basic needs, such as hygiene and eating. In my quest for finding “The Right place to die”, I also managed somehow to find the best things to enjoy in life. It was quite ironic how I found life while seeking death. I did not first notice this, until many years later. It is only now, in 2014, that many of these life-lessons are starting to sink-in. Usually, I discover how valuable the experiences were only after I find old writings expressing my feelings from back then. Yup, even in seeking death, I wrote journals, notes, and sought more than I really knew.

It was August 2005. I managed to find some of the most beautiful places where it seemed no other human existed. I found some of the most pristine, pure, and beautiful places in nature while in New York State. One of the greatest joys I had discovered was to bathe in a creek, or river. Yep, even wanting to die, I still stopped to bathe regularly. It was August, and very hot, humid, and made me want to be clean more than usual. So I often followed roads that I knew would eventually be at a river, stream, lake or pond. Finding water in New York State was never difficult, but I wanted water away from humans, and away from the highways. I seemed to seek solitude more during this seeking of whatever was supposed to be my ultimate destination.

One road I traveled easily 50 miles from the main highway. It was a dirt road, only wide enough for one vehicle, but I knew it would lead me to water … more importantly secluded water. While I had in the previous year come to allow my desire for nakedness to be less hidden, and come a long way in allowing others to see me naked, I still was not fully willing to just be free anywhere any time.

Well, This particular day, I managed to find a great swimming hole at the end of this 50-mile long dirt road. It was Absolutely Perfect! I could tell from the road that it had been days since any vehicle had traveled down this road. (There were no fresh tire tracks.) Also, there was plenty of brush and grass that grew in the road, and none had even been bent-over. When I got to the end of the road, it appeared to be a place an old bridge used-to exist, but that was long ago. The water was not visible from the road. It was beyond a small hill. I stripped right there at my car, only wearing my sandals for climbing the rocks and over the assorted brush. I grabbed my soap, razor, and towel, and happily marched to the water.

Oh, It was perfect! The water was clear, warm enough to stay in for a while, and had plenty of very large rocks along the shore, and in the middle of the river. I did not just immediately wash and shave. I enjoyed the sun, waded, explored, and absolutely enjoyed the freedom. I often wear my sandals in the water, until I know there is nothing that will harm my feet. The river bottom was clean, with soft sand in the calm spots, and smooth rocks in the faster spots. I waded thru a calm spot, and placed my towel, sandals, soap and razor on one of the large rocks in the middle of the river.

I was excited to have found a perfect place to be in nature, clean, and shave. Also simultaneously, I was excited that after I was clean and shaved, I could easily die here.
{{GRAPHIC WARNING!: I describe here how I planned to kill myself... Just to not shock you}}
I had the beautiful idea that in this river, I could simply make sure I was wedged between two large rocks, just barely holding my head above water, crack my skull with a good-sized rock, and go unconscious, immediately forcing my head under the water, and have no chance to change it. It is odd how a suicidal mind works. First my priority was to get clean and fully shaved before I died. Also, by being wedged between the rocks, my body would not simply float down stream, and wash up on a shore to be immediately found. In the water, it would become fish-food, slowly decompose, and wash away in bits, returning completely to nature. To me, this was Perfect!

I swam, and waded quite a distance from my towel. I even found and tried a test-fit for where I thought I could wedge myself. Found a suitable rock to crack my skull, and placed it on top of one of those boulders. Then I heard tires rolling fast over the dirt road. I had been under water quite a bit, so had not heard the tires until the vehicle was really close. I immediately thought “oh no! I will not be alone to die!” Then I thought, whoever it was would see my car at the end of the road, and decide to turn around, since they likely were seeking a place with nobody else. Or there was the possibitly that whoever it was would come, swim then leave. I was not worried, but was a bit curious as to why there would suddenly be someone down here. I had left my car windows down, and doors unlocked, and keys, wallet, and everything else inside, so I was a bit concerned that it might be some backwoods people that seek this sort of opportunity. (Yes even in the desire to die, knowing I would not need the car or stuff inside, it concerned me that someone may be up to no-good.)  But before I could even decide what to do, the vehicle had stopped right by mine, and I could hear what sounded like a police radio. Then I heard his footsteps tromping fast over the hill toward the river. My first thought was “Grab the towel!” But the towel was far from where I was. As soon as he could see me, he yelled that I needed to get out of the water! I swam toward him. The water was totally clear, so he obviously knew I was naked. I asked if he preferred I grabbed my towel first. He said, “No, just get out of the water!”

I could tell from his hat that he was a State Trooper, not just a county Sherriff. Yipes! I thought I was about to be arrested for skinny dipping! Why would a Trooper come all the way down here? Oh my head was spinning.

As I stepped onto the rocks, he asked if I was All Right? I was puzzled, because I still did not know why he was here. I of course was in a confused state of mind, since I was in the middle of planning to die, and his first question was “Are You Alright?” But I reasoned there was no way he could know that. (Could he?) When I left Oregon, I left in a hurry, and likely made some who I had left behind quite concerned, and was not sure if any had sent police looking for me. I was certain some had figured out I was suicidal. Also, while in Nebraska, I ripped up a speeding ticket and threw it on the ground in front of the officer (That is another story all by itself.) So, I really was not sure why this officer was here, and to have him first ask if I was Alright, made me also wonder. I knew I needed to be careful how I answered, and to find out why he was here, or I likely would end up in jail, or a mental-lock-up.  And odd as it may sound, jail was not a place I felt I could survive to kill myself. Yep, the mind of a suicidal person has depths to yet be understood.

He saw my puzzlement, and told me he was concerned if I was alright, since I was swimming alone. That also seemed odd to me, but I went with his direction, so I hopefully would not reveal more of why I was down here. I said I was, and thought it was a perfect place to swim. He asked me to come closer to him, and sit down. I still was not sure what he was up to, but of course I did. I sat in front of him, facing away, thinking once I sat, he would cuff me. He came to the front of me, and sat on a boulder facing me.That made me relax a bit. I asked if I was in trouble? He chuckled and said “Not how you may think.” He told me he saw I was from Oregon, and guessed I did not know the laws in New York State. I admitted I likely did not. (I had a similar encounter in Nebraska, where I learned it was illegal to "camp" in a cornfield, along a canal, or anywhere near a farm, but it was perfectly legal to camp in a city park for free, up to three nights.) 

He asked what I thought he might be here for? (Now he was totally playing with me!) I told Him I really did not know. Told him I thought it was odd that a Trooper would travel 50-miles down a dead-end dirt road, unless he had spotted me doing something wrong up on the highway and it took him this long to catch up to me. He laughed, admitting I was correct. Then quickly assured me he had not spotted me doing anything wrong. But what caught his attention was someone with Oregon plates exploring very remote roads, and when I did not return to the highway in a short time, he wanted to follow and see if I was alright. (Of Course my head was spinning, and I was distracted, so I just accepted what his reason was, not giving it much thought.)

I asked if he knew I would be naked when he approached Me? He said yes, since all my clothes were piled on my car seat.  But clearly naked was not a concern for him. My very first thought was I was gonna be arrested for nakedness, but he made that clear it was not the reason right away. I asked why he was here, since he still had not told me, and clearly he had no problem with me being naked, was sitting on a boulder casually in front of me. He was not at all creepy, or uncomfortable. He did look at my entire body, but more in a curious way, not a leering, ogling, uncomfortable way. He was very comfortable to be near. Which was odd for me, since I was still learning to be seen while naked. I asked what his reason for asking me out of the water was. He grinned and finally told me the Law he needed to enforce. In New York State, it is Illegal to Swim Alone. Period.

In New York State, It is illegal to Swim Alone. It does not matter if it is a puddle, a pond, a stream, a pool, or a river. Any water, you must have someone there with you. I jokingly (and nervously!) told him “Well I was a certified life guard at age of ten, and an expert swimmer, too. He laughed, and said “You cannot save yourself.” He looked at my pile of items on the rock in the river, asked what those were? I told him I hoped to bathe, shave and enjoy some swimming. He glanced at my stubbly bikini region, and grinned. He asked about my travels, and what brought me to New York?”

Yipes! How much did he know, and how much should I say?? Did he know I ran away from Oregon? Was he baiting me? Did he know about the incident in Nebraska?? Did he somehow Know I was planning to kill myself here?? Oh, I was a nervous wreck, and he could see it! He was good! He said, “Never mind about your travels. Let’s talk about your needs right now. Right now you seek to get clean and shave, correct?” I said yes. He clearly could see more than he admitted, yet something in him also showed me he was not going to harm me in any way. He said that since I was not allowed to do that alone, that presented a problem.  I asked if he was allowed to leave and pretend I was not at the water all alone? He said he could not pretend he had not found me here, and he absolutely would not leave me here alone. He pointed at the rock I had placed on top of the boulder. He said “That rock sure is a beauty that you pulled from the water!” I again was caught off-guard! He looked at me, noticing I got nervous. He said, “It is wet, so it stood out, I noticed it had a red-layer imbedded in the grey rock, and wet in the sunlight it sure shines bright! You found The Most beautiful rock in the whole river!” Omigosh! I was freaking out! Did he know?? Or was he truly only noticing the natural beauty of the rock I had selected? I looked at the rock, and sure enough, it really was a beautiful rock! Did he know? Was that why he insisted he could not leave me here alone?

I was faced with needing to get in my car and drive away, or finding a way to get him to leave. I doubted I would succeed in getting him to leave. I decided I had nothing to lose. I got bold, and asked “Well, You are here. Could that count as not being alone?” I seriously thought he would just tell me to get in my  car and leave. He first looked kinda stern at me, then thought about it a second. He knew how to solve the problem. He said he had some reports to write, and it had been a while since he sat by the river and wrote his reports. He got up, said “go about your business, I will be here so you are not alone in the water.” He went over the hill to his car. I went to my supplies out on that rock. When I looked again, he was returning with his clipboard, went and sat under a tree, just a few yards from where I was.

At first I was nervous about actually bathing and possibly shaving in front of him. But he clearly was not giving me a second-look. He truly was writing his reports. I still wondered if he knew?

I first soaped-up while in the water, then climbed up on the rock, and re-soaped so I could use the suds as shaving lubricant. I mention in previous blogs about the infrequency of being able to fully shave my whole body. It had been months, and all I kept shaved was my bikini region. I shaved only my bikini region this time, too. After I rinsed in the water, I gathered my items, and went back to the shore near where he was. He glanced up and down my body, and said “I still have more reports to write, if you want to finish shaving.” I felt a wee-bit mortified that he had noticed so much about me! Now I was suddenly feeling “on display” instead of totally safe. He noticed my change in how I carried myself. He apologized for making me uncomfortable. He meant it, too. He said he would be here for another half-hour if I should decide I wanted more time in the water. Then without a glance, or a word, went back to his work.

I decided to place my items on the shore and go for some more swimming. I went back to where that one rock was on top of the boulder. I held it, admired it. I started crying. I did not want him to notice I was crying, so I placed it back on the boulder, and went under the water where tears do not show. As I came up, I noticed he was watching me quite closely. He had to know… But could he really? I Did notice the free feeling of the water in my bikini area, compared to the not so free feeling where the hair was on the rest of my body. I decided to take him up on his offer and do a full shave. I tried to make sure he did not see me grab my soap and razor, but he looked up and smiled, giving me a “it’s ok” look. Something about him told me I did not need to hide or be embarrased at all in front of him. I thought how odd it was that he came along just before I could kill myself, and also that he was being so careful to make me comfortable, was being so kind, giving, and concerned about how I was, and whether he made me nervous. I decided to shave right there, just a few feet in front of him. He smiled as he did his reports, but something about him made me feel very comfortable near him. I shaved every inch of my body, including my stubbly chin. Oh it felt wonderful!! Shaving in nature is such an awesome experience compared to shaving in a shower!

I knew his half-hour was almost up. I rinsed thoroughly, and went for another decent swim. I went back to the shore and got out near where he was. As I came to the shore, he said with a smile, "Yes, you certainly are an expert swimmer! You stay under water longer than anyone I've known, and if the water was not clear I would have sworn you drowned. But I could see you were swimming long distance under water." (I cringed thinking he really must know, and each time I went under water, he was thinking he would have to rescue me!) He looked-up, glanced up and down my whole body, grinned, then got up and said “My work here is done.”  As I toweled off, he said “Have a good journey. Oh, and there is a perfect campground just North up the road for you about thirty miles, told me the name of the campground. I hope you find what you need.” I asked how he knew what campground was good for me? He grinned, said he knew a lot more about me than I thought he knew. And with that he walked away, got in his car and left.  He knew I would now soon be leaving in my car behind him. How did he know??

I was now really wondering! How much did he know? When and where did he actually spot me in my car, and how long had he followed me? Did he follow me to see if I was trying to commit suicide?? Did he decide that if my priority was to get clean and to shave, and that if he showed me a little love and concern he knew it would go a lot further than any scorning could?  I also now wondered how much of that “law” was for real, and how much was not. (I Later lookedit up, and it was real. In New York State, it is illegal to swim, or be in any water alone.)

I was both really happy, and a bit conflicted. Who was that Trooper, and what did he know? What did he mean about a “perfect campground”?  Before leaving, I glanced once more at that rock, and thought how Ironic that the one I chose already hada streak the same color as Blood in it. I decided I should get dressed and leave before any of the wonderful turned bad.  As I drove out along that dirt road, I pondered a lot. I looked for that Trooper, suspecting he was parked, waiting to see if I would actually leave, or if I would go back to the water. But he had left. He knew he did all he was supposed to do. I could see the whole way out his return-trip tire tracks. At no point did he find a spot to pull off and wait. At the highway, I saw his dirt-tracks onto the pavement went the same way he mentioned about the campground, but I did not give it a second thought.

In my journey of seeking where I needed to go next, I really had no idea, but just went where it felt “right” each time I got to a choice in direction. I really did not consider that I WOULD go camp where this Trooper “suggested”, but that direction up the road seemed to take me where I needed to go.

In the beginning of this writing I mentioned how I kept finding “life” in my quest for death. This day was exactly that. The odd thing was each time I failed at suicide, I actually was learning something more valuable. I did not allow those valuable lessons to sink-in at that time. It would take years for me to truly grasp that I found life while seeking death. This day, and The Trooper were one in many weeks worth of accumulated lessons that would eventually lead me to be the living person I am today.

You probably wonder if I did go to that campground the Trooper mentioned? Yup I did. I almost did not even enter once I saw the list of prices for a night. Part of running away means you have zero resources for income, and you only have what money is in your pocket. Camping at pricey campgrounds is something I typically would avoid, and especially under these circumstances. But something told me I needed to stop at the ranger's office and at least see...
... As I walked into the ranger's office, I was greeted by name. I was a bit surprised to say the least. I asked how he knew my name? The ranger handed me my own Driver's License! Now I was a bit more freaked-out. He apologized, and meant it for freaking me out. He quickly told me my night of camping was already paid for, and my license was just waiting for me to be returned. The nice Ranger showed me on the map where my spot was for the night. He explained "This was The Perfect spot for what I needed tonight." I asked how it was possible that my license was already here, my spot already assigned, and was paid for? He smiled, and said to "Just Enjoy it." He explained the location where my site was would be "A Safe place for the night". I was not sure what exactly he meant by that. He told me to not worry, just go, be free, relax, and to be sure and come see him before I departed the next day.
 I will write more about that campground, The Ranger, and that night in another post. (I mentioned it briefly long ago in a blog about naked campfires, but I barely mentioned it, and did not show the connection to the day leading up to it.)

For now, Know that I am Alive because God sends the right Angels at the right time. (It is ok if you do not believe in God, or in Angels. I will not attempt to force you to believe. I believe.) That Trooper was sent to show me the joys of life, give me the much needed love, and show me he knew without being mean about it. I went away from there confused, of course. I was still wishing I could die, and just decided I would have to wait for the next opportunity, but knew that place was not meant to be where I died. I also found out that night that I would stop trying to find a way to die for many more days. That trooper, and That Campground were the Start of Really Learning what was valuable in Life. I found abundant life in the next few days. But that was not the end of my Suicide attempts.

Why am I writing about such horrific thoughts? Well, you may think the thoughts are horrific. But they are real. I am not the only person whose thinks this way. Suicide is one of the most misunderstood things in our society. If more people understand, and accept that this is real, less people will be shocked when it happens. Also perhaps that Trooper was once suicidal, understands it himself, and knew how to be at the right place, and say the right things to help me to live. There is a misconception that people can prevent suicide. Nope. A person cannot prevent suicide. But that person’s actions can change the path of the one who is suicidal, and that new path can lead the suicidal person to the places they really need to be. If that person lives, they will take the lessons taught on to make a better life, and hopefully help others go where they need to be.

It took me many years of struggles to even be able to talk about my suicide attempts. It is not at easy even after all these years. Although it may seem I am kinda relaxed about it now, and make it every-day conversation, it is always a struggle. It takes a lot to not allow myself to actually feel those emotions again as I am finally able to tell what happened so long ago. I am just glad I am finally able to put some of it into words.

No Matter your struggles, fears, worries, and battles. I can promise you: Someone else in this huge world understands. I Hope you are open to those who come at the right time to be your Angels.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Naked Camping in Vermont

Naked camping in Vermont
~Oh My!~ 
(But You Thought Vermont was "Pure")

I have written many times in the past about some of the most cherished camping trips. They range from early childhood all the way to recent. Almost all of my most cherished involve freedom, acceptance, and complete bonding with nature. Some feel camping is all about connecting with nature. Some think it means packing all of your house, and going to spend time with your possessions someplace else. 

When I mention “freedom”, what comes to your mind? For some it is something connected to the country we live-in. Yes Some flat-out believe their “Freedom” is somehow a United States of America thing. They are welcome to believe this. For me, America is not the symbol of freedom. To Me, Freedom is what we each do to bring balance to our own spirit, mind, and soul. For me, Freedom means peace, unity, and connected spiritually with our world, our universe, and most important one's own self.

Yes, Freedom to me is Not about laws, rights, and what America says it stands-for. For me, most of America is actually not free. If we were truly free, simple nakedness would not be a rarity, but rather an every-day, normal, accepted, and not hated thing. In most places in The U.S., there are not laws prohibiting nakedness, but people seem to think there are. Yep, Americans somehow have come to view the human body as two things: First they see it as sexual. Second: they see it as shameful, illegal, and that it should be hidden. I cannot understand how either of these have come to be “The Normal”.

If America was truly the land of the free, we would be allowed to be naked (which is fully LEGAL) and not be treated like we were the ones breaking the law. Most police officers will admit they would arrest someone for nakedness, yet they would not have a lawful reason for this action. When discussing this with police, they are convinced naked is illegal. When you show them the laws, and show them it is not illegal, they still say they would “Find another reason to arrest you”. Now you tell me, is this Truly the “Land of the Free?

So, You ask: Why am I bringing this up right now? Well, I happened to come across an old writing from long ago (9 Years ago!) that I never published about camping Naked in Vermont. In My search for what life truly is all about, I have found many things that bring life, joy, and freedom. Also interesting is how The path to attempting suicide actually became the path to Life! I am in the process of puting together my views and reasons why attempting suicide many years ago actually was THE BEST thing I could have done in life. Until you have actually gone down the path of attempting suicide, you can never truly have an opinion about it, nor can you understand it. One of my greatest treasures is that I can share these feelings, thoughts, and struggles with others. Even if I help one person along the way, My struggles are worth it. But even bigger is I Have Learned to Help Myself. 

Sometimes, The Greatest gems are not the thoughts we have on a subject from nine years ago, but rather the thoughts we wrote about that subject nine years ago, and are just now re-discovering. Nine years ago, August 2005, I Discovered Life....

I Discovered a campground that I knew I would love to Die at. Sounds morbid, right? But instead of death, I found life. 

In Vermont, one campground had pit-toilets, yet had a large unisex shower-building, with no roof. This shower-building was one large open square concrete room with shower heads all around the walls. There were no partitions, and not even a full set of walls. The concrete floor was moss-covered and had assorted leaves, twigs, and pine needles all over it. It was almost like the natural forest floor. The entrance was a large, wide opening simply facing the forest, with no partitions to block it. Just one wide-open square gang-shower for all to share at the same time. There were no benches, or even an area that was supposed to remain dry. With no roof, and not even full-walls, I expected cold water. I was surprised to find it had plenty of hot water! It was unusual in how it was built.

It was a campground, yet there was not even a place to pay for a night of camping. The showers were free, too. The camp was very primitive, and seemed like maybe it was long ago designed as camp where only boys or only girls (Or men, or women) camped without the opposite sex. Only camped... Like a retreat, or something like that. It was not far from a major (well two-lanes was major in Vermont!) Highway, and got a lot of traffic from day-travelers, yet few camped. The place was not even marked with signs on the highway, but the mossy, forested little road was inviting. There was a "Camp-symbol" on the map, but nothing indicating this place existed on the road.

It seemed it was currently used more as a day-rest-area along a small-country road, although it was still listed as a campground. As soon as you pulled off the highway, you felt like you had escaped, and were totally in nature. The paths and small roads were mossy, covered in fallen leaves, branches, and seemed very peaceful. You could see where previously large buildings existed, also seeming to have a past that invited groups for special retreats. As you drove up from the highway, there still existed a sign about the "rules" of this campground, but that was the only proof it really was a campground. 

From the moment you entered, you knew this was a place of freedom. I did not hesitate one minute. I Knew I would camp here. I also knew I would find a way to die here. ... Or so I thought. At the time I actually was angry that I was finding life, but now I am glad.

I parked just a few yards up the road. It felt so free, I immediately stripped all my closthes except my hat and boots. I knew this place was safe, free, and comfortable. I walked up the road, discovering the camp extended many acres in many directions up the hillside, and again down into a hidden valley. As I entered the valley, I discovered a couple of families were camped here also. The shower "building" was near the highway, yet far enough that it was not seen from the road. The "main parking" area was also right near the shower, so it invited the day-travelers, and rest-stop seekers, yet did not discourage the feeling to be totally free. As I walked around I saw one family coming out of the showers, completely naked, except for shoes, and walk back to their camp, over the hill and into the valley. They showered and walked about completely naked, not caring if anyone else came along. The couple of families I encountered did not blink or give a second-look at me while I explored naked. They said their normal friendly greetings, but nothing more. I was glad to find friendly people that were not overly friendly, nor nosey about what I sought in life (or death). 

Oddly enough, while seeking death, it is amazing how much of a facade I placed all around me. Some who do not understand suicide think it is shocking, or beat themselves up for "not seeing the signs", when in reality, there ARE NO SIGNS, and the one seeking death will NEVER let another know. That is the irony in suicidal thoughts. To anyone not completely tuned-in to the suicidal person's soul, NOBODY can see they are extremely sad. 

One of the beautiful things about a place like this is that nobody would care if I was naked. Nobody here would care if i wanted to die. It definitely had true freedom. Often families would pull-in to rest a bit, have a picnic, play, and have a relaxing afternoon. The kids always delighted at the idea of being allowed to shower "in a forest", and would beg their parents to be allowed to do exactly that. They delighted in the idea that they could view a naked human and it not be considered shameful, scary, or forbidden. Here, people easily shed their "societal imprisonments". They loved the idea that it was a safe place where they could be allowed to play naked.  The parents were funny in how they would react to their kids’ desire to shower naked in the forest, but a shower should be no different than any other form of water outdoors. The pure and simple joy of enjoying water without bulky fabrics making it uncomfortable, and awkward should never be a surprise, but for some reason many adults forget to enjoy the simple and pure pleasures life gives us freely. Once they would give-in, it was hardly just a shower naked. The kids were given their freedom, and often the parents would forget to make them be so hidden, allowing them to actually play. It also is amazing how it takes nature, and children to remind adults how to relax.

It was funny how for the showering, nobody was concerned about being naked, but when the kids would want to run free all over the forest, at first, the parents seemed surprised. The joy that a kid (or any human) has when they are allowed to run naked, play and experience nature in the forest is unmatched by any other experience. The feeling of being allowed to get dirty, completely, without any clothes, or worry of “making mom upset about dirty clothes” was a freedom any kid would cherish. The joy, wonder, and feeling of actually being allowed to truly connect with our Earth, without blocking it with unneccessary fabrics, or other barriers is unmatched in discovering "Pure". Of course what started as a desire to take a shower in the forest became a full-day of showering, then getting completely filthy and then showering again. 

The parents would watch in bewildered amusement, thinking how silly the children were. It usually did not take long for a child to ask the parent why they were still wearing clothes, and sitting on a log watching, instead of enjoying the day. Most adults just laugh those inquiries off, not quite grasping how much the child knows and can teach (or remind) the adult who has forgotten what is truly important in life. Occasionally one or both of the parents would strip, and join the freedom. Oddly, it is usually the mother who would join, seldom the father. 
Now, I ask you, What in Your Mind is "Pure"? Sure we all thought Vermont was "Pure". But some think "Naked" and "Vermont-Pure" could not belong in the same sentence. I guess ya gotta ask yourself why you would view simply pure nature as somehow not-so-pure. Have you ever allowed yourself to learn to live? I have ... But it took dying to learn to live. I Hope you find life before you die.