Warning: this post is tame and perfectly suitable for work.
As we parked the car and began walking toward the beach, I debated the merits of this outing. We passed a restaurant and families gathered around picnic tables. Just how private is this place? Eventually we turn into a narrow slice cut out of the mangroves, near a sign that says, “From this point on you may encounter nude sunbathers.” Once on the sand, I take off my sandals (as brave as I could get for the moment) and follow my friend down to the less crowded section.
“Less crowded” is a relative term since Haulover beach gets packed on Sundays. We find an open patch of sand wedged in between several other people just a few feet away. So much for anonymity or dipping my toe in slowly. Ah well, taking a deep breath, I decide to dive right in and embrace this experience for all that it can be.
My friend John loves going to the nude park and has been inviting me for awhile. “It’s freeing.” he assures me. I feel pretty liberated already, I think. But in the spirit of adventure, I decide to set aside my inhibitions.
There’s nothing terribly compelling to report. I swam. I relaxed. I applied sunscreen liberally. And I took in the view of the ocean, the sky, and the gathering of humanity and its flesh on a stretch of Florida sand.
I’m not sure how much spiritual reflection I want to do publicly about nakedness, though there is plenty to inspire. The mystics talk about prayer as being naked before God. Taking off your clothes in front of strangers makes you ponder the barriers we place between ourselves and others. Vulnerability, openness, shame, pleasure. All the emotions surface, subside, and rise again, like the waves. How to accept and respond to this spiritually is an important task.
For now, I will count it a gift to have enjoyed a day of sun and water, of feeling and thinking. Of just being myself and nothing more. Literally.
Note: Pics from the internet. I didn’t take any.