Friday, February 27, 2009

A Visit to Florida

It's so nice to escape the dreary northwest winter (God bless it) and within a few hours be in the swirly humidity of Florida. Not only is it hot, but I'm reminded that not all life is dormant in the winter. Osprey are nesting on tall pillars. Gopher turtles scurry into sandy holes. Spanish moss drapes from tall cypress. Oranges are hanging heavy on the trees if they haven't already been harvested. Strawberries are in season and local festivals are happening.

Oh yeah, and I have also been vacationing in a nudist resort. There are no juicy details to share, just regular people who like to kick it in their birthday suit- year round. I think the fact that these folks live in a resort is more striking than the fact that it's a nudist community. The residents here are some families and mostly retired people. Actually, only married couples were allowed here until about 25 years ago, to promote a mellow, family-oriented vibe.

They are bonded by the fact that they like to have the freedom to be naked- which doesn't mean they always are, just that the option is there. Actually, with being so acclimated to the Florida weather, most resident nudists are wearing clothes if it's below 72, and inside with air conditioning if it's above 90. The resort draws all different kinds of folks, from a former head of the NYSE with his shiny kajillion dollar RV and hummer, to people who want to commune with nature and pitch a tent at one of the rustic campsites. What I really like about the lifestyle it is that it promotes an awareness of your own body in a healthful and non-judgemental way. No one has a perfect body, and since no one is hiding it, then no one is self-conscious, and you reach a totally new level of comfort.

Also, since the weather is so nice most of the time (there are more nudists per capita in the county north of Tampa than anywhere else in the country) most people spend a lot of time being active outside. These are the fitest retirees I've ever met. The other day I got a tennis lesson from a 71 year-old in amazing shape. He pointed out a man on the court next to us playing doubles, who was 85 (and looked 60). "That man has 14 YEARS on me, and look at him!" my instructor exclaimed. "Keeping active is the way to stay young."

So I've been enjoying the facilities, swimming daily, running in the woods, learning petanque (French-Canadian version of Bocci Ball), sunbathing, watching volleyball matches, and in the evening when it gets chilly in the 60's, taking a soak in the hot tub.

I wish I had some photos to post, but taking pictures here is strictly prohibited. For obvious reasons.

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