I slip on five toe shoes and walk out the front door of my home. It is getting cooler from an unseasonably warm Fall. There is just a slight awakening chill here on the shady side of my house, not uncomfortable, but just enough to tell me that I’m naked all over in the air, in a natural way.
I emerge into the bright sun and immediately feel its heating effect on the right side on my body and back. From that, I know that I’m walking northwest, and it is around 3:00 by the position of the sun. These wonderful warm days will be replaced by cooler temperatures of winter soon. The winter is long overdue. I’m thinking that I’m going to make the most of this stroll in the desert, as I turn north, away from homes and into pristine nature.
Nudity brings an intense awareness to me. The nude body is very wise. I discover the anticipation of something sharp. The intimate and gigantic knowledge that we apply to the act of walking through, or around, a scratchy prickery bush is an amazing act. We know just how much we can allow the bush to touch us, before it leaves a mark or blood. As in slow motion, I step through something and can compensate and protect myself in less than a conscious instant. I naturally react before I am able to think it through. Action is automatic and I can only observe the miracle of it.
On the other hand, clothing simply steals that life away, as one plows efficiently through the bush, unaware, clumsy, blind and separate from natural organism that we all are.
When I abandon myself to all elements, I begin to be at worship. For most of us, our perception of the world is generally dominated by eyesight. Naked, we can realize that we are much more. Dormant underutilized senses are awakened and expanded. We become more a part of, and I’d use the term, “more alive.”
Our sense of reality is generally dominated by various levels of thoughts and judgement. When naked in nature, I can be reminded that these mental exercises are most often a distraction from who I am in this moment. Intellects can be set aside when one is pleasantly overwhelmed by the senses. Initial trust in the senses to guide leads to the greater trust in the process that has created humanity in a natural world. When walking natural in nature, I am not the rugged outdoorsman, a father, or a career. I am not one of numerous fantasy identities that tend to get built around oneself. I am generally just here, now.
I start up the rise to get to the hollow that Have-a-rock looks over. As I reach it, I am startled by the alarm of a male javalina in the bushes. He is only a few feet before me. He has been resting in its shade and security and I have nearly walked upon him.
I stop and he scurries away ten or twelve feet, grunting and making alarm with his machismo. I immediately assume that the rest of the small herd is in residence. I grab my camera to snap what I can. I turn to my right to follow the clear area that I use for a trail and to make the message that, I’m not here for him.
The trail circles around and across the other side of this ridge. I realize that I’m circling the alerted critter, heading him off. Impolitely, I continue. I have camera ready and below, I am seeing seven to nine javalina fanning out in every direction, but mine. All are in alarm. They scurry through the thick brush 30 to 40 feet generally and stop in hiding.
I see Hav-a-rock before me. The rock will give me a taller vantage point. I am conscious that I don’t want to have the original javalina, or maybe another collide with my path. A fearful reaction to my immediate presence could produce a defensive bite. I am after all naked, armed only with my camera and soft shoes.
I stand upon the lone boulder, attempting photos. My closer fellow is slowly cautiously making his way around me, the naked one that he knows, but doesn’t yet trust fully. I snap away. I hear a large one moving up the nearby hill in the other direction. I turn to grab a shot, zoom extended as much as it can. Then, I swing back again to capture an image of this beast, the lookout, who has alerted the others with his act of distress.
He incrementally makes his way down below. I see another. They meet head on. They place their bodies broadside and lean in, rubbing each other. It is like an embrace, a hug, a greeting. As they seem to be rubbing each other as if a scratch, I wonder if they collect scents this way. I’ve never seen this behavior.
Then, the two continue on in opposite directions.
I sit on the rock a few minutes, in waiting. I am pumped up from the excitement. My mood to quietly sit and meditate has disappeared.
I decide to head back.
I gather a couple of burgundy and quartz rocks from the ground. This area has been my quarry. I have been collecting them for a building trim project for months. It is good excise to lug these pieces, one in each hand, pump at my muscles, and feel the balance, as I twist and turn through the foliage and uneven terrain on the way home. By the time that I have completed my walk, they have become quite heavy.
I sit down in the soft chairs under the porch of my sauna building. As I look out at the desert, I marvel that this place has had no rain since July, yet it will be restored when the drought finally ends. Where there appears to be only sand today, multiple varieties of tiny plants will appear and bloom with the coming moister.
The mind drifts and I think about the encounters with other hikers on remote trails. In their heavy pants where there is little brush, they do seem out of place. They often sweat in those outfits. The heat is trapped. Their bodies move in various degrees of constraint.
Thick protective shoes crush life and insulate the owners from their world. I found foot prints out on my stealth trail a couple of weeks ago. They had stomped a plant, broken its stem as it bloomed. Its full resources from years of diligence to reproduce had been destroyed in a second, by an ego that had no value for its life.
The other hikers are often hurrying to get somewhere, or to accomplish. Some don’t even seem to have awareness of us, as we stand naked near the edge of the trail. They are looking down, focused on their locomotion. Some are noisy, scaring away the animal life. Their conversation is focused on something that is far away, in another time and place. I have to wonder, “How would they be different with those clothes off?”
The next post takes us into a canyon that DF showed me this spring. I discover flowing water, rocks for lounging, natural beauty and wonders, all out near where she used to live.
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