June 09, 2013

Sneaking out of the conference for more naked photos

Naked against the sky

The Friendly Green Conference program was packed with so many interesting sessions to choose from that I found myself wishing for that little time-turner device Hermione used to magically attend multiple classes in the same time slot. But by the fourth day of the conference, my brain felt saturated and my body was longing for some fresh air.

I was itchy to get outside and see some of the landscape. Every hallway and staircase had a sign informing me what I should do in the event of tornado, and those warnings that I should head to the basement just made me want to go outside. Besides, all my visual images of the state came from The Wizard of Oz, and I felt like those images could use some updating.

When a friend suggested renting bikes so that we could ride along the river, I hesitated for just a moment and flipped through the program to see what I would be missing. I do hate to miss anything. But then he upped the ante. “Plenty of natural light on the levee,” he said. “I’ll pose naked.”

That did it. I owed it to my blog readers to come with a photo of a naked man. I stuffed the conference program back into my backpack. Really, I didn’t have a choice. It was my moral obligation to spend the biking outside in the gentle wind, the sunshine, and the sky filled with clouds that seemed to stretch forever in this land of prairies and twisters and little dogs named Toto.

I don’t have a whole lot of biking experience, but luckily, History Buff had everything figured out. We walked to the bike shop, signed some release forms that we didn’t read because they were clearly not meant for two people with aging eyesight, grabbed the bikes, and were soon on our way. Within a couple of blocks, we’d left the town behind and were riding easily along the top of a levee that stretched alongside a river.

To our left stretched farmland, just flat fields with no trees, and in that landscape, the sky dominated. It was a magnificent sky that kept changing as the sun moved in and out of clouds. I admit that I'd half-expected the landscape to be in black-and-white, so all the colour surprised me. The clouds shifted and shoved each other to make more room, with sections of the sky darkening as more and more clouds crowded in. I tried to imagine what it might be like to see a twister on the horizon, and that made me shiver. It would be terrifying and awesome and incredible, all at the same time.

We talked as we rode, about our lives and our families and the way our bodies have changed as we've gotten older. History Buff stopped patiently every time I wanted to take photographs. We ended up taking naked photos in two different locations. Clearly, we are over-achievers. Or maybe we just really didn’t want to go back to the conference. I love the intellectual stimulation of a plenary talk, but it can’t beat riding a bike under skies rolling with clouds.

  Down by the river

Read more about the history of the naked blogging project and check out the gallery of photos.


Heidi said...

LOVE the outdoor pictures!

Bardiac said...

Thank you for missing the conference for our benefit! Lovely photos!

Now you need one of the bike, for those of us who roll that way. :)

jo(e) said...

Damn. I don't think I actually took a single picture of a bike. That's because I am not coordinated enough to ride a bike and take a photo at the same time. When we were on our bikes, my camera was safely tucked into a backpack that History Buff was carrying.

But next time, I'll try for Naked Person with Bike.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. You found a great model.


Zhoen said...

That part of the world has a beauty all it's own. As do older men in the landscape.

Tornados are stunningly beautiful, as many deadly things are.

Anonymous said...

It is enough that you took the time to ride and take photos. The focus on the natural human form and nature is understandable. Now if you were more interested in gears, wheels and manufactured stuff, we would expect a shot of the bike that was rented. Thank you, jo(e).

Tina said...

These are great photos! I love it that a man volunteered this time.

Jeff C. said...

Ironic you had to spend so much time indoors at a friendly green conference. :) It must have been a relief to get some vitamin D & fresh air.
I find the shots liberating; not just of bolting from a conference for some time but also reconnecting an emotional or spiritual tie we can have with nature in its most basic, bare fashion.

Anonymous said...

You've heard of the Naked Bike Ride in Portland?


jo(e) said...

I have now! Thanks for the link. And now I'm going to add the Naked Bike Ride to my bucket list.

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law said...

It's funny that the first shot looks like a "Jolly Green Giant" pose, since every time I read "Friendly Green Conference" I think of the Jolly Green Giant. :-)

mommo4.5 said...

I love that you call him History "Buff"!

Jeff C. said...

@ mommo4.5
I never made that connection. of history buff - love it! :)

Jeff C. said...

Just wanted to share this great quote:
"Nudism is NOT about seeing or being seen. It’s about de-stressing, relaxing, and returning to innocence. It’s about accepting yourself and others for who you are, how you act, and what you say, rather than what you look like, wear, or own. Nudists usually remove sunglasses when talking with someone new. It’s polite. It’s simply the feel-good feeling of the air, water on you without the constriction of clothing.” – Cheri Alexander, on Bay of Plenty Times site

jo(e) said...

Ah, thanks for that quote, Jeff. I agree!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Yes, the outdoor ones are great!!! :-D How fun. Definitely a great break from a conference, no matter how good it was!