After yesterday’s BS I need a pallet cleanser post. Monday was a day off and I needed nature.
We did a minimum of chores early in the morning. Then Nathan and I, with our two toddlers, left for the day.
Nathan is about halfway done cleaning gutters and our yard and patio were far enough along that we deserved the break. Our teenager also deserved a break from watching the two toddlers the whole time Nathan and I were working on big projects.
So she stayed home with the dog and the rest of us went to fulfill my desire for a specific nature retreat. I was in massive withdrawal of what used to be our favorite place to camp.
Our clothing-optional pagan-camp had closed for most of 2020 because of Covid. Being an outdoors retreat most all events are held during fair weather months, and that was when covid shutdowns happened here. Late last fall they had reopened with major adjustments to occupancy limits and functionality.
If we make the assumption that the rules, created by the powers that be, were all good choices, then what our camp did to meet those demands was appropriate (some events drew thousands of people). However, having gone Monday, it sort of broke my heart. Our beautiful nature retreat was in desperate need of major maintenance because all the festivals that would have funded those projects last year didn’t happen.
The shower house foundation was separating significantly, partly because one of the shower lines had leaked enough to necessitate removing the wall panel behind it and it had not been fully repaired yet, so excess water had flowed into what was once a tiny crack. Now between lengthy spring rains and the plumbing problem, it was now about a two inch gap the entire length of the building. The sinks and showers have not been returned to normal either. Covid spacing was slightly wider than normal spacing so they took a few fixtures out, and they are still stacked in one of the covidized toilet stalls.
So then we went down to what was the beach. The dock was still parked on ‘the beach’ with paddle boats needing some serious TLC. The beach itself was more of a sandy lawn, having been mowed, but not treated for weeds and grass and not having had any sand dropped in several years. The lake itself was full of algae, which festival goers in previous years had taken turns pulling out to keep it thinned down. It was a sad moment acknowledging we were not going to be able to swim or boat on this day.
I was determined to enjoy some of the day though. So we walked around, cooled off in showers, walked some more, and then went up the giant 4 story+ main staircase to the ridge.
The ridge is where main event activities are held. There are two large fire circles, and open field space about the size of 2 or 3 football fields. The biggest festivals held on the ridge can accommodate 50 to 60 vendors quite easily. I showed my kids why it is called the ridge. If you look end to end it is roughly flat, but as you look the short directions it slopes downwards towards tree lines which are the start of major drops. My kids thought that was neat.
At the backside of the ridge is a massive pavilion that hosts musical and theatrical entertainment during festivals. The pavilion has provided seating for about 300 people, but campers often supply their own chairs and so the pavilion has fairly easily accommodated 1500 people for a performance. My kids enjoyed running around the pavilion, climbing up on the stage, and playing in the gravel floor.
Then I took them to see Flora’s Garden. It was very overgrown to the point of impassable. It had not been tended since the end of 2019 I’m sure. I pointed to some of my favorite places from a distance, the one bench at center was one, and the swing at the back was another. My kids opted to climb the trees that separate the vendor space from the pavilion and main fire ring.
Nathan took a stroll through Pixie Sticks and Drum Styx to the first field area to take good cloud pictures. There are several hiking trails that we did not accomplish with our two toddlers on Monday.
We were only the second family to be out at camp on that day so we nearly had the whole area to ourselves. I took a bit of an opportunity to sunbathe naked, and Nathan eventually took his shirt off, still embarrassed by his dialysis port. It caused a whole discussion with my kids as to why it was okay at camp but not okay in our yard. We had to explain to them that or neighbors are very good people but not used to rules allowing for nudity, so it would offend them to see people naked outside. We also added that people who come to camp have allowed themselves a slightly different view and nudity is acknowledged as our Gods’ given skin and natural when weather permits.
I only wish my children had gotten the learning experience of festival. It is when you are seeing people of every age, in a variety of levels of dressed and undressed, and no one cares. It simply is. We are allowed to be our own authentic selves no matter what that means. Camp has never had the pressure of you must get naked to be there. It is truly clothing optional and free from any pressure. It also helps one to feel better about their own body because you realize that there is always someone that is worse off, or different, and sometimes it’s a bit scary and sometimes it’s really beautiful to see the differences. It just helps with acceptance of all bodies and all people being who they are. It is a beautiful experience. I wish that for everyone, because I have benefitted so much from that learning experience.
Anyway, my brief soiree of nudity for some sun did help start that learning moment with my kids, and a line free tan, but more our day was much needed connection with mother earth. We all left camp hot and tired, but more grounded and centered than we’ve been in ages.
I’m only going to share pictures where I am clothed for obvious reasons- the internet is unkind and never gives anything back. Plus pictures do not do full justice to the learning lessons that camp provides in shifting paradigms.
May you have a good time in nature anywhere and anyway you find it. May your soul be cleansed and grounded by Mother Gaea. May you know that we are all beautiful people in our Gods’ given skin doing our best to navigate this thing called life. May you have a deeper understanding of your world and find ways to see your own beauty. May you have ample time to enjoy your days and find goodness in this world. May you understand paradigms and find ways to exist as authentically as possible as much of your time as possible. May Mother Gaea guide and support you in all ways possible each day. Above all may you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.