Friday, November 14, 2008

Story time (including public nudity!)

My friend Sunny has been complaining about the rain in Oregon quite a bit lately. Her name is Sunny so I will try not to let her complaining drive me into Seasonal Affective Disorder. She reminded me of a great story I want to share with you (and Sunny)...

Several years ago I was on a weekend vacation in the middle of January with my mom and her dear friend Martha. We were sitting at a restaurant at a resort in northern Idaho having drinks, looking out over the lake, when Martha said, "I'm going to get into the lake." My mom (who plays the mom role to a tee) said, "What!?!" in a hysterical tone. The lake was surrounded by snow and it was about 30 degrees outside and a pitch black night.

Martha said, "I'm tired of being cold, so I'm going to embrace the cold. I'm going to take off all my clothes and get in the lake and FEEL the cold." My mom did not panic (surprisingly) but insisted that she pull the car up as close as she could to the lake and run the engine to keep the car warm so Martha could de-thaw after she came out of the lake.

We finished our drinks and got everything ready. Martha stood at the edge of the lake, striped off all of her clothes, and slowly walked into the water. She got far enough in so she could submerge her entire body which caused her to yell out in surprise and then she came hauling back to the beach to get a towel and into the car. She was exhilarated. She had liberated herself from worrying about being cold. She was cold. She immersed herself in it. Temporarily of course.

Personally, I thought she was a little crazy, but it was incredibly neat to see a woman in her 50s take off her clothes and jump in a freezing lake. Fast forward a few years later...

I'm back in northern Idaho, hanging out with friends from Corvallis (long story I will tell some other time) standing on the shore of the same lake thinking about Martha and what she had done that day. It was January again, and we were huddled around a bonfire on the snow covered beach, two sheets to the wind and having a great time. It was beautiful, and there were a million stars in the sky. One of my friends said, "That's it, I'm going in." And I said, "Me too!"

You should know that I hate to be cold and I had never skinny dipped in my life but I took off all of my clothes and walked into the dark, freezing cold water and immersed my body until all of the breath left my lungs and I felt like I was going to die. I yelled out just like Martha had that evening and I ran back to the beach to grab my clothes which were somehow not where I left them and in the hands of one of my friends who apparently wanted an extra long peek of my behind. Jerk.

Whatever, it is still one of my fondest memories, doing something completely out of my comfort zone that seems insane but is really harmless and ultimately, life affirming and exhilarating. It makes me smile now to think back about that night and what it felt like and I would love to do it again! Of course, it really does figure that the one time I try public nudity that someone took my clothes but only a few people saw my behind. I lived!

So my message to you, my dear friend Sunny, and to anyone still reading: embrace that which is holding you back and getting you down. Who cares if you get wet? You really won't freeze. Get cold and get wet and keep living your life, it's a beautiful one! Then come over and I'll make you hot chocolate with whipped cream and it will all be good.

1 comment:

Curt said...

Great story! Some day I can tell you about some of my public nudity experiences and how they have shaped my life.