Thursday, June 2, 2011

N is for...

N is for...noodling, nature, naughty, naked

If M was a bit too personal for you, you might want to skip N.

image from

N is for naked...

wherein I reveal all my naughty nakedness. And apparently, there's a lot of it cause this is kinda long.

When I was 15 or 16, the AC broke down during the summer and we had a few hot sweaty nights before it was fixed again. One of those nights, I got out of bed, stripped off my pajamas and climbed back between the sheets naked and I felt very naughty indeed. It was such a luxurious feeling, I've never worn pajamas since.

I've never been excessively modest. Well, not since I grew up. I was just as body conscious as the next adolescent growing up but somewhere between 18 and 21 I went through a total body acceptance. I became 18 in 1968 and embraced the counterculture. There was a lot of sex, drugs, rock and roll and enlightenment. Life goes on of course and things change but being comfortable in my body didn't.

When I took Drawing in college, our final exam was a self portrait. It didn't have to be an actual portrait. It could be a drawing of anything or any composition of things but it had to be about how you saw yourself. Mine was a black and white drawing in ink of myself nude from the waist up, reduced to hard shadows with other images woven in. I got an A. One of the few he gave out. Of course it could have been because of the obvious breast (however small) in the drawing.

Several years ago, I encountered someone from my early 20s whom I did not immediately remember. But she remembered me. It seems we, my then husband and I and her and her then husband/boy friend went to the beach and indulged in some naked rolling down sand dunes and then running into the ocean to wash off. Like I said, I didn't immediately remember her or this event but I had to admit that it certainly sounded like something I would have done. The memory did eventually drift up.

And then there was the last job I had before I settled into the etched glass modeling for life drawing classes. Nude modeling. As in naked. You wouldn't think but standing motionless, holding a pose for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes is strenuous. I finally gave that up when my daughter was born but not before I posed once or twice with her.

I've been known to skinny dip a time or two. In the ocean, in pools, in rivers. Sometimes planned, sometimes spontaneous. Got run off one pond out in the country with a shotgun, me and a friend. My most recent skinny dip was 12 years ago on the Pecos River in the trans-Pecos region of West, dry, semi-arid, not quite desert. We had hiked back into one of the canyons for over an hour to a shelter that has some amazing pictographs that are 3,000 – 4,000 thousand years old. Our group split with half going back to our camp on the river and the rest of us hiking and climbing another hour or so to another shelter that was much more difficult to get to. And then, of course, we had to hike back to camp. We were all tired and hot and there was supposed to be an iron ladder from the top of the canyon wall down to the river and so we decided to try for that instead of climbing back down into the canyon to our camp. We lucked out, the ladder was indeed there, maybe 60 or more feet of it and as rickety as it looked it held as we went down it one by one. That was one of the scariest things I have done btw since I had no idea how long it had been there or how secure it was in the face of the canyon wall. We had, of course, taken plenty of water with us but by the time I climbed down and got back to camp I was hot, over-heated and in danger of suffering heat stroke and the only thing I could think of was to cool down as fast as I could. I made a beeline to the edge of the little cove where we had camped, stripped my clothes off as fast as I could and jumped in the wonderfully cold water. When I surfaced I saw 8 dumbstruck faces staring at me like I had just sprouted another head. Eventually two of the other women stripped down and joined me and two of the guys, though one of them kept his boxers on. The reason I stripped down was because I had on camp clothes and I didn't want to get them wet. If I'd had on river clothes I would have just jumped in dressed.

Being on the river, wilderness camping, over-blown modesty is a hindrance. The river is where you bathe, where you pee (pee in the river, poop in the can), where you live. We only set up tents when it was too cold or the weather was inclement, preferring instead to sleep out under the night sky. I learned how to change clothes in the middle of the group removing one shirt under cover of another and quickly changing pants with back turned. But there are times when you can't avoid a little nudity in the group, like when the camp is a small sandy spot with scrub and rocks on either side and you are as far downriver as you can get hanging your naked bee-hind over the river's edge to pee cause it's night and you have on camp clothes.

And then there was the trip on the Colorado River through Colorado and Utah with a group of strangers. They were all friends and we were invited along by our friends for a 5 day float. We would camp early and go for hikes and one day they announced a night hike. Marc and our friends opted to stay in camp and I was late getting off as the group had already started out. I dashed off to catch up with them and as soon as I was out of sight of the camp I came upon two of the members of the group shedding their clothes. They liked to do naked night hikes and why didn't I join them. No one would care. I stood there for a minute and shrugged and said OK. So I stripped as well. I don't know what the hell I was thinking except that I figured I would never see any of these people again (with the exception of our friends who were safely back at camp) and why the hell not? We caught up with the rest of the hikers and settled on some nice warm boulders and did some star gazing. Eventually I started to get a little chilled and put my clothes back on and we hiked back to camp. That was in 2000.

I haven't had any spontaneous outbursts of nudity since then so I guess it must be the proximity of water that encourages it.

Or it could be that after 61 years of living I've become a little more decorous.



  1. LOL - I'm not all that modest myself. However I do try to not scare people away. But I really don't get the purpose of the gown when you're getting a mammogram, or the paper covering when you're getting a pap - it seems kind of silly to me.

  2. N is for North, where I grew up and spent less time than you being Naked, which seems Nuts in the cold; but my gosh it sounds great! Actually, saunas in mid-winter are fantastic, so much better buck naked than in a swimsuit. You definitely have a point.

  3. As a camper and an avowed naked sleeper I completely appreciate this post.

    I own a bazillion pajamas/bathrobes but those are for the morning or going to get the mail. I hate, hate, anything but covers when I sleep. I even remove jewelry.

    It seems to run in the family and I see nothing naughty about it, but we all knock before entering anyone's bedroom. :)

  4. There is a nice feeling about it for me.No tan lines here.

  5. You'd be a fun friend to know, Ellen. I love the sense of freedom .. that you live. :)

  6. On the full moon, I do too (moon that is). Being skyclad in my own back yard would seem to be an okay thing with an 8ft fence as a surround but it appears I have a prude, noisy neighbor who just happens to have to climb up a ladder and with a very odd way of catching sight of a nude old lady and I was asked by the police....I almost laughed in their faces, to restrain my nakedness. To say the least I was tickled and annoyed. The youngest officer said, "do you really run around naked in your backyard?" Like it was a terrible thing to do. Sheesh....the younger generation...what is the world coming to when an old broad can't enjoy nature, naturally.

  7. Ellen, you are a true liberated woman.

  8. That was a very...ummm...revealing post :)

    I have, on occasion, gone swimming naked when camping or hiking deep in the wilderness and I want to keep my clothes dry. And of course long-term backpacking trips where an occasional bath in the river is required.

    Although on my recent trip with the Boy Scouts, I think keeping my clothes on was probably the best option - you can get into a lot of trouble these days...

  9. I love this post!

    What's the big deal with nudity? I have never understood why we Americans are so weird about it. Rememb er when Janet Jackson flashed a boob. Just one boob and it was the biggest news in the world. For heaven's sake!

    I've always loved the phrase "naked as jaybirds." I wonder what it means?

  10. Our paths are similar, except for the river- I became modest when i turned 40 , had a kid, and became not myself, out of courtesy to others I keep my clothes on.No body, trust me, wants to see this!

  11. "n" is for nice writing, not naughty but natural. steveN

  12. I had to smile when I read the naked post.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.