I feared the change of seasons, worrying that the glory of summer and all its joyful clothes free adventures would fade as fall’s schedule returned with dropping temperatures and swelling crowds of people in the vicinity. It was such a rich summer, and I’ve struggled to find my footing and place upon my return to daily life.
This Friday, as I stood looking out of the window at my place of work, my heart sank. Indeed, the city had its last crack of summer’s incomparable heat and humidity two days prior. As much as I love the summer, sweating 24/7 is not my preferred experience. In contrast, I barely sweat while walking in to the office that morning. Fresh, crisp air soothed my skin each step of the way. That got me wondering: would this not make for the perfect day to be outside clothes free again?
I have a secret spot that I’ve found at my job. It’s a space to which few have access. Over the summer, I took advantage of it all of the time, because hardly anyone is around during that season. But with fall turning the pages, everyone returns to the spaces. Paper clips and emails are flying again. I thought, for sure, it would be impossible to use the space anymore. Surely my chances were gone. Surely, there was no way for it to work out.
But I’ve been wrestling a lot with things swimming around in my heart. I’ve probably cried every single day for the past two weeks, and my appetite has gone on sabbatical. And as I stood there in my office this Friday afternoon, I recalled the weather’s fresh state and thought, “Would I, could I step outside for a while and write?”
I finished up my to-do list and took stock of who all was around in the office. Most folks, by this time, had clocked out early. “It is time,” I decided. I grabbed my keys, journal and towel, and snuck outside. There I stood there for a while, just listening to the sound of cars and trucks yelling at each other below while the wind passed softly across my face. Finally I made my move. I stretched out the towel, pulled my dress over my head, took a seat, and opened my journal to a fresh page.
There were many things I wrote between the lines and sheets. The pen just kept moving at my heart’s command. It was wonderfully cathartic, sitting there clothes free on my towel, just writing as the sun touched whatever part of me it could reach. I felt an amazing sense of peace and calm. At one point, I even looked up and saw a spider on the wall next to me. Normally I would scream, but instead I just stayed there with it. I didn’t run.
I took a pause in my writing and listened to my surroundings again, and my eyes fell on my skin, and I observed how radiantly the sun lit it up. In that moment, I felt a kind of peace and beauty. It was a simple moment of feeling like everything made sense. Sitting there, simply being clothes free outside in the shade under the sun, just me, my towel and my journal, the moments just made sense. I felt peaceful in my sadness, I felt whole and complete in my loneliness. I felt safe in my exposure. I felt free.
Summer might be heading out, but fall gives comes with plenty of its own gifts, if only I am willing to see and embrace them. Friday was perfect even in its pain. That’s how I feel living clothes free: perfect even in fall.