November 11, 2019

In the arbor

In the arbor

The mountains are gorgeous in the fall, but the air is often chilly, especially if there’s a wind. When my Wild Women friends and I gathered for our annual retreat, the first thing I did was build a fire in the old stone fireplace. “I don’t think we’ll be skinny dippping this year,” Signing Woman said as she sat down with a bowl of hot soup.

She was wrong. Both QuiltArtist and FolkSinger managed to sneak off for a swim the next day, although that air certainly didn’t indicate swimming weather to me. “I wanted the cold,” QuiltArtist told me when she returned with wet hair and shining skin. “It’s therapeutic. Better than any medicine.” She was smiling and full of energy, so perhaps plunging into the icy water was just what she needed.

I was content to stay bundled in my thick fleece shirt, but I needed to take a naked photo. It’s been a couple of months since the last one I posted on my blog, and I knew my readers were getting impatient. I figured that every day, late afternoon, we had a window of about fifteen minutes when the air would be warm enough for me to convice a friend to strip naked. So that afternoon, when I went for a walk with QuiltArtist and GardenGirl, I brought my camera.

Our walk led us to a small stone chapel that overlooked the lake. “They’ve got a nice little garden,” said GardenGirl. She treats plants the way most people treat puppies; she can’t resist them.

It was a pretty little garden that reminded me of an English cottage garden: small and nestled against the side of the chapel. Many of the plants had been cut down for the winter, but the vine-covered arbor that runs along the side was still green. The sun warmed the stone walls and the stone walk beneath our feet, filling the space with green and yellow light. I knew we had to seize the moment.

“I think it’s warm enough for a naked photo,” I announced.

“We’re in a churchyard,” QuiltArtist protested. Then she looked down through the arbor, and she admitted, “It would be perfect.”

The garden was sort of private. Well, there was a road just ten feet away, where people where strolling about in the sunlight, taking photos of foliage and admiring the view of the lake, but at that moment, at least, we had the little garden to ourselves.

“Okay,” said GardenGirl. “I’ll do it.”

Without hesitation, she stripped off her clothes, tossing them onto the stone wall. QuiltArtist and I began calling out instructions. “Step forward just a little! Reach up and touch a leaf!”

We were quick. By the time a young family came tromping through, she had already pulled her clothes back on. I’m sure that all they saw were three grey-haired women, admiring the arbor on a sunny fall day.

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


DJan said...

What a beautiful photo. And GardenGirl is beautiful, too! :-)

Far Side of Fifty said...


37paddington said...

Beautiful arbor, beautiful woman, beautiful spirit of joy. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I love this tradition!


Roderick Robinson said...

Wow! To be resident in Snowstorm City (I fear I had to Google its location) is to take an avowedly super-pragmatic attitude towards the winter months. Which, I believe, occupy a larger part of the calendar than they do here in the UK.

I worked in the USA for six years in the late sixties. Though I doubt it could in any way match the extreme conditions within spitting distance of Ottawa, I found the summer burdensome in Western Pennsylvania. But then what had I expected? Pittsburgh is roughly on the same line of latitude as Madrid and Istanbul at the other side of The Pond. Things got worse when we moved to Philadelphia and I experienced the notorious humidity of the Delaware Valley. My wife complained but I (working in an air-conditioned office) was firm. During the winter we racked up an enormous utilities bill and I had no intention of continuing to spend at that rate during the summer. Until I took a few days' holiday at home, that is. When I found it necessary to rush out and buy an a/c unit which, in my haste, I installed myself.

And then it snowed in winter. And snowed. Lo, I had snow tyres fitted.

As you well know, Brits moan about the weather despite having very little to moan about. (I'll except the present flooding which is both awful and countrywide). Nor do they acknowledge they live in a temperate climate. Temperate is surely only for wimps.

I wonder if any of my acquaintances over a long lifetime would have agreed to be photo-ed naked? Male or female. Were I to have adopted your project I would have ended up privily photographing myself. A field of limited artistic endeavour. Wimps don't do that kind of thing. We're too... temperate.

A Green Ridge said...

Well done!...:)jp

Zhoen said...


Dr Michelle Frantom (aka Dr Grafix aka Munted Doll) said...

Love it. We enjoy bush showers on our block. I've warned the neighbours to call out if they come over via the back track, though for now it's not an issue.

jeff c said...

Great composition as always.
As with many traditions, we as individuals and groups have had to postpone or adapt to new realities this year with social distancing and covid-19.

Travel is cut way back which limits our interaction with colleagues and different locales. Social interaction via computer and phones help but isn't the same. While you could continue this tradition (how weird would it be with the model wearing a mask) it certainly would be more of a challenge to scope out and quickly compose your shots.