|Photo by; Darkone [CC BY-SA 2.0 |
via Wikimedia Commons
It's Spring now, remember?It may be the first day of spring, but it's maybe 40 degrees out here at best, and I'm wearing my huge winter coat.
I know, you're ridiculous, the mild North Carolina winters have made you soft. Totally too warm to warrant that coat.The water's bound to be even colder. We'll freeze to death. Plus the sound is dirty. Storm water, sewer overflow, the signs that recommend not putting your head under? We could get a skin-eating infection and die.
Keep your head above the water then.No, not happening. I'm already going to be late for work, and I'm way behind. Barbie will be pissed if I call in.
Work be damned. Life is short. That's what your sick leave is for. Clearly, you're in need of a mental health break.Well, I'm definitely having a mental issue here. Got to be those damn steroids Dr. K prescribed for my chest pain. I'm actually losing my mind.
Don't be ridiculous. You'd do this without the meds. Helloooooo! It's the Vernal Equinox!!! We can't not go.Somebody will see us and we'll get arrested for public indecency.
Unlikely. And worse things have happened. You need this. Your soul needs this. We're going.Before I had time to think about it further, I was veering off the sidewalk and crashing through the woods toward the muddy waters of Shallowbag Bay in my big puffy winter coat, sweat pants, long sleeve t-shirt, and sneakers.
And so it was that I found myself standing naked amongst the reeds on the first dawn of Spring in spite of myself. My therapist would later ascertain that this had been all my own doing and not the side effects of the Prednisone. He was probably right. I really shouldn't have been surprised. My life had been coming to this.
The weekend after Labor Day seven years prior, at the age of 21, I'd finally gone hiking by myself for the first time. Repressed though I'd always been, my free spirit escaped enough to send me tiptoeing into the pool of a mountain spring with only the patchwork of tree-scattered sunlight and shadows shimmering on its surface to cover me. Well, that and my sports bra and panties that I didn't take off until I was completely submerged. A few minutes sans clothes, I looked up and saw two old guys staring down at me from a higher bend in the trail. So all my attempted modesty had gained me was soggy shorts for the hike back down the hill.
This had been followed up by two clothed-to-disrobed dips with my college best friends. One was over fall break of senior year in the big bend of the Little River in Elkmont campground – wherein my friends and I, after much coercing from me, threw ourselves in clothed and then stripped down, such that our bedraggled, half-drowned kitten appearances led our neighboring campers to take pity on us, forcing Lexie and I to violate our fire-building merit badge rules and accept their gift of a starter stick. The other was in the Gulf of Mexico in January wherein Theresa's also-nekkid boyfriend (literally a boy, he was only 17 despite his giant melon of a head) had to save me from the deceptively tempestuous waves by hanging onto his own swim trunks with one hand and dragging me towards the shore with the other, all while attempting not to look at my boobs or flash me his wiener. We'd kind of missed the order of things. First ditch the britches; then get wet. Silly honors program kids. We'd clearly missed out on the essential education acquired at frat parties.
Thus my penchant for inopportunely-timed skinny-dipping had formed. Next came my quest for pagan spirituality.
To be continued.