The taking off of clothes, this mirrors the taking off of selves.
The funny thing about my being naked is that I've been really comfortable about being this in public for a really long time. Modeling for drawing classes, sitting for a sculptor, being in a play, posing for photographers. Nude beaches are a big favorite of mine. This publicness of nakedness is easy.
But the nakedness of one. Of me. In the alone of me, this nakedness is different. Because all it is about is me. And so where the nakedness for others - for that other purpose - is almost like a different set of clothing is put on, this nakedness of one, of me, this is truly a disrobing. Of all that I could hide behind.
I am taking off my cover.
I took off my cover twice today. We went on a hike. And found a stream that needed to be entered into. The air was wet, the rocks and sticks, mud and leaves cool to the touch and cooler still against my skin after my clothes were off my body.
I sat in the stream for only a few moments. Long enough for my legs to become numb while I cupped the clear water within my hands to then run the drips against my arms. My neck. My face. My hair. My chest. And belly, too. And then I climbed atop a small rock that was one of the few places where the sun settled through the trees and I could feel the warmth against my skin.
The sensuality of air on skin - on still wet skin that dried too quickly - brings me to a connected place. To the earth. To a spirit that is familiar. And a knowing that sits true. And a remembering that is sweet. For I have known this nakedness before.
The second time today was not long after the first. On our drive back down the mountain road to home. We passed a lake. In Ojai! During a drought! It is a miracle lake. And so I had to go to it. Go in it. Be in it. Naked.
And so we drove till we could not anymore. And then walked along a path and over a now dry streambed covered with tiny frogs - thousands of them - that we could see when they moved but that disappeared in their stillness. Till we were there. This small, warm and clear, lake. More a pond. And then I was at its edge. Where once again my cover came off and I entered the sweet stillness of water. Swimming out to the middle where the bottom was deeper and the warm, sunbaked water gave way to a cooler surrounding. But not cold at all.
I swam out and back and then lay on the ground - so the warmth of the sun could dry my skin - until another couple showed up and my disrobing was reversed.
I hesitated for a moment at that moment. When these others showed up in my naked space. An instant of questioning whether I wanted to get dressed. Cover up. Re-place my cover. But in this moment the moment was finished and it was time to go home.