We’re on our road trip across America. It’s sort of a naked version of “Easy Rider,” but in a Honda Civic and okay, not in the Deep South. We’ve been heading north and now find ourselves in New England, in the heart of Vermont.
We need some down time. This whole vacation has been a whirlwind. We have an excellent camping situation and some grey weather with a threat of rain and some mosquitoes. We wake up with a desire for rest and solitude. We’re just going to take a deep breath today.
While DF prepares some food, I plop myself down with my little half-size guitar and challenge myself to make it sound less like a ukulele. DF has some reading and we both write and reflect. We hold hands while we stare at trees…you know, have a vacation.
I’ve got a series here. What to call it…”Naked Across America”…”An old folkster heads across America and he forgets his pants!”… I’ll give it some more thought. Meanwhile, in an emptying campground, with ears opened and visual blocks, we manage to enjoy a bit of nudity in the middle of this public place.
Earth Sky Time: 06-24-2021
We have decided a need to appropriate some supplies, before spending the afternoon at the ledges.
Leaving our fee-free nest, before the weekend crowds, we make our way south to tend to some business, as the Chairman of the Tucson Family Sweat Alliance. We’re building a new sauna. I have been investigating the possibility of using a rocket mass heater. They are known to burn 75% less wood and present 90% less emissions to the air. I’ve read on line that the Earth Sky Time commune has constructed a working efficient variation of one. Maybe we can get a seat to see how well it works. Who knows?
After skirting around Willingham we find the sign just off the road.
The long driveway takes us past an old hippie bus, a green house and prosperous features.
There is a large barn with a loading dock.
As I button up a shirt, I climb the stairs to an open window slot. There is a menu drawn up in chalk across the wall. I ask the young woman behind the counter about the rocket mass sweat. I tell her how far I have come and explain our intention.
As I watch the busy bustle of the bakery/kitchen, she goes to inquire.
A more mature woman comes out to greet me, bearing bad news. She looks up at me like she is breaking the news to me about my favorite uncle dying. The sweat, was burnt down by an errant candle flame. It is no more. Also, the builder has moved away.
I’m quite disappointed, but we have been looking over the aforementioned organic homemade menu on the wall.
I ask about a loaf of an intriguing olive and rosemary bread. The young lady is affirmative, but apologizes that it is probably too fresh to cut. I light up; turn to DF, smile and say wild wide eyed, “TOO FRESH to cut!!!” Yes, we’ll certainly have some of that.
We get a tub of arugula, garlic and lemon pesto, an entire brick of tempeh, classic sauerkraut and maple yogurt! When ordering a couple of fresh apricot croissants, for right now, she offers us squash with a fabulous color. “We just picked these yesterday.”
“Okay!” What a coup. We move our car out of the way near a basketball net, which is attached to lamp post, to have brunch.
A small package of a boy, probably no more than four years old, is walking barefoot under a blanket down a two track road.
As he nears, I notice that the child is bare. Some of the adults are at work barefoot, but this child in casually naked. He thinks nothing of it, obviously. I like his style. The blanket is a security attachment. He isn’t using it as a covering.
He wanders up to us. I have the window down to breathe the cool fresh country air.
“Are you guys going to play basketball?”
No, just having lunch.”
“Okay.” He is so cute. We have a curious conversation with him. He has a surprisingly mature relaxed way for such a sweet young face. I think, “Spanky, where’s the rest of the Lil’ Rascals?”
It’s good to see a young one being raised so well.
Back in a shopping district, Aldis grocery just doesn’t have the same impact after our visit to Earth Sky Time. Every bit of that purchase was a treat. Each time we nibble on another snack of it during the coming days, we comment on the food’s special character.
We get on the highway that goes round and around, stopping at the Vermont visitor center. Inquiring, we are told that there is no nudist information. There is also no solitude information. There are no maps that will take us into serene natural features. The docent tries her best, but admits defeat.
We make our way to now familiar territory and arrive at the parking lot for The Ledges, a popular skinny dip and sunning spot.
Memory is reassuring, as we find our way through the natural hedge and into the shady forest. We’re soon walking onto The Ledges above the glistening lake.
There are plenty of smiles greeting each other. It’s a lot of happy folks hanging out. Many seem to know each other.
Hanging with the Locals:
There wasn’t a free range attitude amongst the locals that we talked with. They had a stay in your pen attitude. Enjoy this and avoid problems. Well, I respect home turf. I’ll put my kilt on once we cross over into the wrong side of “the bridge.” After that, we have been told, they are concerned with complaints.
Wherever we go in New England, there seems to be talk of going to Florida and their free beaches. This is also happening here. As I lay on my back on a rock sunning, while I quietly hold DF’s hand, conversation drifts over me.
The water is a bit nippy for Arizonans, but DF dips into the lake to her waist. I take a few pictures. The clear water reflects up at her, making it difficult to not wash out the image with all of the light.
I watch the sun glowing in the water. A diamond fans out across the lake, like a huge gem.
The talkers take off to visit someone else. A speed boat comes by, circles and takes off.
Eventually in peace, I hear the lap lap on the rock face below. It’s hypnotic.
Taking a walk:
We and two cohorts were here a couple of days ago in a drizzle. The story is here:
Nude Across America Pt.13: Wandering Quartet
The trail is much drier today. I tell DF that I want to take an unencumbered walk, barefoot all over, to explore further down the trail.
She is hesitant, but soon takes the lead and is thoroughly involved in the experience.
The ground is soft. Our feet fit between the meandering roots, where broken leaves await. Debris sinks under our weight, like walking on fine carpet, or a soft bed. Here, comfortable in bare feet, walking silently, listening, walking like a warrior, not to disturb, is easy. I know that I could move quicker in shoes, stepping on branches, but this feels more a part of, more respectful, more in touch with earth and nature. A some point, it is important to indulge in the gift of a body’s senses in full. This feels very real and alive.
I think in wonder about how many neurons it takes to do this. To anticipate, coordinate, and use all of these body parts in unity and mutual support.
I’m watching my natural movement as I amble. The liberation of wearing absolutely nothing on this trail is coupled with its comfort and lack of sharp objects. If my feet were better conditioned to be bare, this is more like it would be. There are many obstacles, but I watch my body move about them, with balance and full body movement.
There is no gravel laid bare, even the small sticks mush into the soft carpet. For a while, a tree has dropped golden leaves into the path. These give an extra comfort, a sort velvet squish. I think of Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road. It is damp, just right. Each step is a delight and I’m compelled to take more. I walk and know that I’ll have the pleasure to walk back.
We find a long rock slope that will bring us through the brush to the lake. Our feet grip the surface well, where a slip could be a hazard.
We extend warm greetings to each tree as they stabilize us, an anchoring grip, giving us a helping hand down to the water. These trees are used to passersby needing a hand. You can see the rub in the bark.
We find a perch on a rock slab to sit on. It is a good place to observe the rest of the lake.
People swim across and paddle across. There is freedom on the other side, a very natural less touched terrain.
Naked people can camp, or walk there.
A nude man paddles by, standing up on a board.
Bed Down for the Night:
We plan to stay at the airport campground that we were shown a couple of days before. We can then escape the coming rain, by heading up to northern Vermont.
Away from the communities in verdant paradise, a back country road is quiet and delightful.
The trees are trying to overtake the roadway. A large creek runs through them and under the road’s bridge.
When we get near the campground, we see references to fly fishing. Fly fishing means other bugs. Sure enough, we are soon closed up tight to protect from mosquitoes. I pitch the tent as quickly as I can, while DF makes quick snacks to eat in our shelter.
This flat place, carved out of the forest, is perfect for watching the strawberry moonrise. I arrange the doorway so that we can lay and watch it happen. As the light of a good day ends, we fall asleep early.
The plan is to have one more post before the end of the year, about a 5k run.
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