Here we are, it’s Spring again and a first warm opportunity, a perfect day has presented itself. We were looking for a hike, to enjoy our deep tropical tans. Just over a week ago, we were in Zipolite, Mexico. Spoiled, we’re after sand, water and more of that terrific sense of liberty.
We have to stay down in the desert, because elevation makes the air much cooler up in the mountain’s trees, at this time of year. We also, want to try something new.
Redington probably has water from the recent rains. We thought of hiking the sacred mountain Babaquvari, but that is such a strenuous hike. We just feel like taking it somewhat easier. There is fresh ground up past Redington Canyon that would be new to us. We’re off.
When I ran to a temple in India, I was seeking knowledge and transformation. I had the curiosity to learn ancient ways first hand and not through a book. I wanted secrets. I was intrigued with possibilities that I could find oneness with that something/everything. What do they mean by “to end suffering,” to “loosen attachment?” How is that so? I also had a paper to write for my Master’s degree and I wanted something fresh.
Each day, I was given a litany of various yogas. Most were not about western ideas of health; most were not physical. A yoga is a path to Awakening there. Where I went, it was treated like shotgun medicine. If you try ten yogas, perhaps one will be your holy key, you’ll stick to that one, if it works for you.
One that I particularly enjoy is what this temple called Japa Yoga. I have seen other things here in the west called the same. This one, I find, can be practiced without any strict proprieties. It is fun, yet it will bring one into the moment, away from the periphery of imposing influences of daily modern life, and uses the whole body in a most healthy and rejuvenating way. The basic idea is to allow the body to let go, to let go of the body and to allow something essential to take over. It arrives as a free form dance.
Clothing can be fun. I suppose that that sounds odd coming from me, but clothing has been a festive accessory for millennia. DF and I have dressed up in nude outfits on occasion.
I had a long blonde wig sitting around for several years waiting for an occasion. DF and I needed new costumes for the big Halloween bash. Our friends were putting on a special show. Neither of us could get away with nude in public but hair, aka Lady Godiva and we had but one wig between the two of us.
I found nude body stockings at a ballet shop. With the wig and my masculine features, like the thick mustache, well it just looked silly. A comical impression of the lady Godiva…good!
DF needed something for her nude form fitting tights and she decided on an Eve. We made leaf patterns out of a green felt material, which was much like a pool table cloth. These were placed strategically.
We walked into the open air bar, grabbed drinks, walked around a corner and were barely on the dance floor, when a mike augmented voice blasted out, “Lady Godiva.” I won a prize, then and there!
The outfits went over big, which was fun. But we did realize that there was a bit of a see-through effect in certain areas without the opaque coverings. I noticed a pair of older women staring as I danced. Apparently when the hair shifted… I had to be on a diligent duty, keeping DF informed of any shifting of her shrubbery.
Of course in a one piece outfit, toiletries presented an obvious difficulty.
We had lots of fun.
So Next Year, Just Plain Naked:
The next year, going back to the usual very authentic pirate costumes wasn’t enough whimsy, so, we decided to go completely naked. Again this option just couldn’t cut muster with local law and the leftover nude body stockings came back out of the drawer. Again they were revealing.
This is the end of the previous tale about navigation when hiking. I am on my way back to Terra Sante across wide open spaces of various terrain. The first part can be found as the previous post.
My memory of the subtle differences in my landmarks faulty, I am having a tough time staying on my route, except when I find the jeep trail that crosses my path. Soon enough, I’m making my way toward the sticks that I placed to point the way.
This jeep trail has been a relief from the random wandering through the open desert. The harsh thick plant life makes a straight line of any kind impossible.
Several times, someone has asked how we navigate. I have a GPS that I have used once. I got it to not get lost in the forested mountains. There I can’t see far and the foliage and terrain is redundant enough to confuse landmarks. I’ve used this devise only a couple of times over the years.
We usually use more primitive navigational means. Where we go is mostly mountainous, or between mountains, with plenty of distinct landmarks. We often use marked trails.
I do use technology to get acquainted beforehand. I get everything that I can find off of the internet. I use Google Maps and then their satellite images to surmise what we might expect. I sometimes use raw hand-drawn maps, and sometimes topo maps.
There is always something else that needs to be done to not get lost, common sense, extra senses, observations, vigilant memories, either on the trails, or bushwhacking.
This will be two tales. The first takes place in the spring, me alone. The second is brief, when DF accompanied.
I will combine the photos of two stories here. You see, I went alone the first time and wrote the story. My photos from that experience were not adequate illustrations. A few months later, DF and I returned, cameras in hand, which made another story and more on this topic of navigation.
The spoiler alert is that in each tale, we nearly got lost wandering in the desert, again, but for our wits.
There are those trying times when one gets a bad break, financial plans fall apart, troubles at work, you know, stress explodes. Even thinking positive thoughts, one might wake up in a cold sweat, or have a sense in the stomach enough to take away any appetite. While it may seem like there is no relief in sight, there is a reprieve waiting. For stress, the natural prescription is getting naked and going for a hike. Get away and get in the present moment.
That’s what we did Sunday. A gorgeous day presented itself and we headed for Redington pass.
Since I recently did a post about gathering rocks for sacred ritual purposes, I discovered notes for a paper that I wrote of my experimentation with ancient ritual. The following is about this aspect of nudity, in which it can be an augmentation to exploration through ritual. I would suppose that this won’t be everyone’s cuppa, but food for thought.
This is the story of one of two rituals required during my studies. They were accomplished completely nude. There is something powerful in naked abandon. The senses, the awareness, the commitment to be completely open to divine guidance, to drop the interference of the world of role, clothing, or protection, to surrender the more conventional ideas of self to the intention at hand. There’s that surrender with trust.
I am up at sunrise. I give prayer and ask for guidance at the alter in my home. I have no plan, except perhaps a smudge, which is forgotten. I have DF with me, she with a similar intention. At the top of the mountain hill after the rocky falls, we will find a place that “feels” right and then go from there.
We walk up the desert mountain trail into the Tortolita Mountains. It is quite a climb and I have been fasting for the previous 24 hours. On the way, the course changes. It “feels” right to head up an entirely different direction, one that we haven’t yet explored. I know that we are intuitively on track.
A trail presents itself. It leads to an unusual crested saguaro cactus. This one has three crested arms, like I have never seen. To get a better look, we walk around it, and find an old jeep trail. There are old matate bowls in the granite surface of the trail, where Native Americans would grind with rounded rocks for hours over years. Near that, I follow a trail of broken pottery chards to a pile of them under a bush.
We are in in a gorgeous spot, where quiet harmony is seasoned with the call of the various birds. The first morning’s pastel light has made its way through the silhouettes of the canopy of tall majestic pines, which dwarf all of us below. Splotches of golden clear light paste a glow to each bush that it touches, a splotch here and one over there.
Rolling over, looking out the screen of the tent, I see the northern slope of this treasure, turning fully golden. Golden rose, golden yellow, translucent golden greens in a myriad of shadows. Beams burst through at intervals. I lay blessed. “Whoah” escapes from somewhere deep in consciousness and falls from my lips.
From a deep sleep, into wonderment, I grab my camera. I’ll seek an attempt to capture a piece of this, all the while knowing that I have no way of doing it justice. I have the sense of that energy of the first morning’s light, which all life seems to know. That energy that makes birds sing, sex arise, wakes the sleeping rabbit, flowers unfold and comforting warmth begins to grasp us all. Can a photo truly capture these new beginnings?
…The show is over, I squat and crawl into the small opening in the mesh, which is made by the familiar sounds of that zipper. I do all that I know to not disturb DF as she sleeps and rejuvenates the tired sore muscles from the previous day. Her determined flight into her disturbed dream, that must be completed in its haphazard way, draws her away and she only briefly notices. We rest together some more.
I’d heard the watch go off this morning at seven. Who cares…
…It is still early this morning. I’m startled by the weighty step of somebody big, just outside of the tent. We focus to identify the sound of whoever is tussling the leaves. He’s walking on two legs around our tent. I try to be as quiet as I can to not let the intruder know that I am awake and alert. I slide my hand toward my pistol. Whaoh there! It’s only a turkey.
We try not to giggle too loud, fascinated by the nonchalant behaviors of a wild creature. I whisper, “Sure sounds like somebody is out there.”
I recall last night, just before sundown, there was a big black turkey and a pal digging through the leaves. There are lots of those bugs that we saw yesterday, the black ones with white polka dots, who are mating.
We stretch and unzip the tent. I’m feeling gratitude to be here. The smells, the fresh air that falls from high on the mountain, the divine peace and solitude that comes from the thick coating of silence is out there beyond the passageway. I must reverently crawl on my knees to reenter this monumental church. I stand, take a deep breath and stretch some more.
Through my sleepy eyes, in a delightfully simple state of mind, I see a squirrel with big ears that curl up and then in like a bobcat. Black tips, it eyes me back. It probably can sense who the more alert one of the two us is. We begin the chores, me breaking camp and DF digging through the truck putting breakfast together. She has collected a wild mint to enhance a morning tea.
As the sun filters through the foliage, it warms us, until naked becomes perfect. A hiker family catches us in our abandon. DF is behind the truck. I use the door and turn my back to them. Butts aren’t actually illegal to see. My exposure doesn’t really concern me, and apparently they have little concern, too. We’re excited to return to Miller Canyon on the other side of these mountains.
Crossing the great divide and up Miller Canyon:
“Ya know, I don’t remember this road being so bad on the way in?”
As we lumber down the bouncy dirt conveyance, a deer crosses the road.