It’s always great to see these friends of ours, a married couple whom I credit highly with helping my family understand what naturism is. And their home, which has a huge deck facing west with a wonderful view, is just a magnificent location. So there we were catching up and making introductions over drinks and snacks, and then their neighbors came over, and then another park visitor, and in the end there were 11 of us–of all different age groups, 6 males and 5 females, most of us wearing nothing and the others wearing very little–chatting and watching the sunset (and then the starry sky), in and out of the hot tub and the hammock (my daughters), and just a general happy buzz, and the neighbors brought some sweet homemade desserts to add to the mix… and it was just heaven. “Paradise,” in fact, my partner said, and typed it onto the caption of the photo she took (see below). Also in attendance were two dogs, two deer that wandered through, and some dozen hummingbirds at the feeders on the deck. And as the sun was setting our great friend and host stood to make a toast to friendship, and my partner and I later talked about how the heck we could make a plan to buy property out there…and as we left, our host said it had been one of the best nights on the deck they had had in years.
In three years on this blog, the most popular post that I’ve written is Introducing the Family from October 2011. Evidently a lot of people would like some tips on how to get the whole family to embrace naturism. In fact, when my whole family and I went to the naturist park two weekends ago, we were asked that same question more than once by complete strangers – how did we do it? We stood out, a bit unfortunately, because even though the park does have quite a few family memberships, there did not seem to be any other families at the park that day.
The naturist park Oaklake Trails is about an hour drive from our home. Ahead of the trip, I invited a friend who lives in our city, with whom I’d carpooled to the park before, and so all five of us went out (my wife, my two daughters, our friend, and me). It took awhile to get out the door. We left MUCH LATER in the day than I would have hoped, because, ggrrr, yes I’m impatient when it’s a matter of getting to the park. But, even to go to a park WHERE NO CLOTHES WILL BE WORN there is a fair amount of planning involved (food, gas, cash, towels, sunscreen, etc.)
But so we finally got to the park. It was overcast but warm and no rain, and lots of folks were in the pool. My partner let her clothes go quicker than I had expected. She asked for something to drink, I purchased some beer, and we had a great couple of hours in the pool. Then it was time to eat, so we laid out the picnic assortment we had brought, and invited another park guest from the pool to join us–one of the folks who saw us as a family and asked, how do you do it? As we were eating our late lunch, the sun came out, and then we all six went to visit our friends who live at the park.
Well, it certainly was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had, and I’m still living the afterglow, but here’s the most interesting part, the reason I’ve written this as a continuation of the Introducing the Family post: the initiative for the visit came from my family. This is an immense victory because I did not say anything: I did not directly proselytize, agitate, cajole, advocate, or act in any way to bring this about. What happened is that my younger daughter randomly said to me in the car one day not too long ago, When are we going to the naturist park? I wanted to shout for joy and yet I somehow avoided a traffic accident, feigned indifference, and asked her if she liked going. Yes, the pool, the house (our friends’ home)… We should go, she said. Then the next day I was coming out of the shower and my wife said, You’ve got tan lines, and I said Yeah that sucks, and nothing more. After a few moments, she said, I’d go to the naturist park if we can swim. And I said, funny thing, our daughter asked me about going yesterday… So the end result is that I am very pleased that this happened so organically. Years of patiently modeling naturism, as patiently as possible for yours truly, without insisting, have paid off. It’s true that all my family had been out to the park with me before, and had been on our friends’ wondrous deck before. So that was certainly an incentive – they knew what a gorgeous place it is–both the park in general and the deck specifically. But in the past I always had to do all the suggesting and convincing. This time none of that was needed, because the idea came straight from them.
So I am really quite proud of my partner, and my kiddos- a 19-year-old and a 10-year-old, after all, comfortable with their bodies (and unfortunately there weren’t any other kids around, closest in age were our male friend who carpooled out with us–age 30–and the other young man who joined us at the pool, age 28). Everyone was respectful, although the 28-year-old I think got a tiny bit too “happy” with the wine. But I don’t condemn the wine; it is very helpful for relaxing and overcoming inhibitions, and certainly appropriate for such a gathering whether nude or not.
And so this was the dream I lived, we lived, that Saturday. I drove us back home late, me wanting to stay of course… and now, and now… it’s “back to reality”: could we actually sell our house, get a smaller place, and buy one of the park lots …?
My sincere thanks, again, to our friends and hosts, who were among the founders of Oaklake Trails 22 years ago: such an uncommon initiative, unprecedented in this area.
I WAS SO HAPPY. And still am pretty damn happy.