We had some errands to run in Boulder today. Actually, what we had to do was deliver some postcards we picked up in Post Office Bay in the Galapagos Islands. On the way out of town along Highway 93 Steve spied a billboard. I saw him do a double take.
“Did you see that?” he asked.
“That billboard back there for the Family Nudist Resort,” he said.
“Wha?” I asked in my best Despicable Me minion voice. “You’re joking, right?”
I was skeptical about his eyesight, but that sounded too good to pass up. I had to investigate, so I grabbed my iPhone from my bag. Sure enough. Google led me right to Mountain Air Ranch, Colorado’s Family Nudist Resort, part of the American Association for Nude Recreation. It was twice voted America’s friendliest nudist resort.
“Holy cow,” I said as I perused the site. “They aren’t kidding. It’s a full-fledged nudist resort in the foothills. Located on 150 acres with 10 miles of hiking trails. Can you imagine hiking naked? Wouldn’t you be worried about getting scratched up by plants? Oh, man. If you slipped coming down a steep hill, imagine what that fall could do to your unprotected nether regions.”
By this time, our kids were starting to pick up on the conversation.
“Hiking naked? What are you guys talking about?” Joe asked.
“Well, there’s a resort not far from here where people don’t wear any clothes. For the entire time they’re there, they walk around naked. People who do that on a regular basis are called nudists,” I explained.
“They don’t wear any clothes?” Luke questioned.
“Nope. No clothes. Shoes maybe, but no clothes.”
“Why would you DO that?” Luke asked.
“I suppose for the feeling of being free. You know, when you think about it, nudists probably are a lot more comfortable in their own skin than the rest of us,” I said.
“That’s because their own skin is all they’ve got,” Steve quipped.
“I don’t know,” I said, trying to keep an open mind. “There are probably a lot worse things a kid can grow up to be than a nudist. Don’t you remember how much the boys used to love to run in the sprinkler in the backyard totally naked? There was a natural joy in that.”
“They were 2 and 4,” Steve said. “They were carefree before they got undressed.”
I shrugged my shoulders and kept looking at the site. It was hard to see on my tiny iPhone screen, but people appeared to be unencumbered by clothing. They looked completely at ease. I’ll be honest. I’ve always kind of wondered about trying out the nudist experience sometime. Maybe just for a day on a beach or something, but it has crossed my mind. Not all that seriously, obviously, since I’ve never done more than skinny dip on a moonless night…once…when I was in college and when I’d had too much to drink. Steve glanced over at my phone.
“There are photos?” he said incredulously.
“Let me see,” said Joe.
“Nuh-uh,” I told him.
“Hey…this resort is up Deer Creek Canyon,” I told Steve. Deer Creek Canyon is minutes from our home. “It’s close. We could always try it,” I suggested.
“If we went,” Joe asked, “would everyone be naked?”
“Yep. And you would have to be too,” I told him.
“There’s NO way,” said Luke.
“I’m not going either,” Steve said. “If you ask me, there would be just way too much ugly naked going on at a place like that.”
He may have a point there. I’m not entirely sure I want to see nude men playing bocce ball or women engaging in a lively game of nude shuffleboard. That might be a bit more than I’m brave enough to handle. Oddly enough, the idea of being naked myself while doing these things troubles me less than the idea of watching other nude people going about their daily lives. I’d never know where to rest my eyes. I have a feeling I’d be walking into branches and tripping over rocks while simply trying to avoid gawking at anyone’s parts.
Then again, maybe that’s why I need to go. Maybe my growing edge lies in wholeheartedly recognizing that a person’s body is not the person. Aren’t our bodies like suitcases for our souls? I’m sure I know this in my heart, but that doesn’t stop me from judging people by the clothes on their backs. Nudity is honest. It takes courage to expose yourself to the world and to know that the essence of your being isn’t diminished by sagging flesh or incongruent parts. To their credit, nudists naturally let it all hang out. There’s a beautiful peace and simplicity in that. I’m not quite brave enough for the whole nudist experience yet. (Rest assured that no clothes were shed for the writing of this post.) But, someday, I’m going to have to try it. The nudist resort, I mean, not writing naked. I expose myself enough with my writing as it is.