I never imagined how much fun it would be to read everybody's "never list." A lot of bare naked toes out there. A lot of nonsmokers. A lot of people unconvinced by the Las Vegas tourism board.
But people! You just have to go skinnydipping once. It's daring and liberating and kind of the quintessential way to commune with nature without a long term commitment like living in a handmade shack and growing your own beans (sorry, Thoreau, but you were kind of a zealot).
When I was in high school (many years ago, when phones were attached to the walls by cords and computers were the size of laundry hampers--but also when the 80's look was truly fresh and new and inspired) we lived on a lake. It was a quiet lake--only 3 families lived on it year round, the rest were summer folk and one entire bank was a private boys' camp for rich Jewish kids from Chicago. In order to keep peace, my father made me a bedroom in the basement to separate me from my sister. I had total access to the lake through a basement door--I could walk out to the dock in less than 40 paces.
In the summertime I worked at an ice cream parlor. I'd bike to work wearing my uniform (polo shirt emblazoned with the shop's logo and shorts) over my swimsuit. After my shift I'd bike home, sweaty with a rainbow of ice cream flavors smeared up my right forearm (the badge of ice cream scoopers everywhere. That's real ice cream, not this "soft serve" crap out of a machine. That? Is not real ice cream. And those who serve it do not scoop.). I'd strip off polo and shorts and run to the end of the dock and dive. Instant revival.
I spent hours floating in an inner tube with a book in hand. Or sitting at the end of the dock dangling my feet in the water. Or drifting in our boat.
And at night, when it got mighty hot and stuffy, I'd slip outside and leave my nightgown on the dock. I'd glide into the water, water dark and shiny beneath the moonlight. The ripples from my movements gently lapped the shore and I'd feel so empowered and independent and mysterious. The lake was mine. Stripped down to my birthday suit I was one with the water, the trees, the air, the fish, the frogs, the stars, and the cattails. No one knew I floated out there, alone. No one knew how daring and brave and confident I was. It was my secret, as long as we lived on that lake I skinnydipped on summer nights. It was the only adventure within reach for me at the time and in that dark water I could be anywhere, the Amazon, the Nile, the Black Sea.
Reader, give it a try--solo midnight skinnydipping--it's mighty liberating even for modest shy types like me.