Thursday, July 9, 2009

Still all about the lake

I've been in the lake Thursday, Friday, Saturday (sadly not Sunday), Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Today, we'll see. Just made it happen. In Bloomington there's not a lake nearby like that, certainly not one I can walk, jog, or bike to, and surely also not one I can take off my clothes in and puddle around in a state of such glorious oneness with the water and the heron and the ducks and the fishes.

Yesterday morning I was so very happy - got there, just a very few people there. Put my towel out in the sun (it was a little chilly; I had just been jogging for 45 + minutes so I was warm but I wanted the towel to be as warm as possible for when I got out) and my clothes and shoes and little fanny pack with money and phone and keys and pedometer in a pile in the shade under a tree by the water. Got in slowly - the raft that otherwise has teenagers had this one heron (I'm going to say heron - could have been egret) - it was majestic and tall and had its beak pointed defiantly outwards until later, after I'd swum back and forth past it twice, it did a settling downwards and changing its shape to sit down and cut, truly, a completely different outline in the sky - sitting down it looked like a different creature. 

I just swam around and swam around and thought about things and considered myself happy and relaxed and on vacation and lucky. 

Last night, sadly, an acquaintance here spoiled it for me a little, it was an unpleasant encounter anyway and I thought she was quite rude to me, but she was also making a thing out of saying she could/would never go to a place where you take off your clothes in public, something about preserving her eroticism. And it turned into a thing about who's more erotic (?!) or what going to the lake is even about. I was flustered and annoyed and defensive so I'll try to say it better here:

- it is NOT mostly about taking off clothes, it is mostly about being in the wonderful lake, and the feeling of being in the wonderful lake is for me sent skyrocketing into a whole nother level of unencumberedness by the fact that I'm in my birthday suit

- the part about being out and about in the air undressed, i.e. walking from lake to clothes, is for me also not about seeing and being seen! With fewer people there's a nice feeling of oh, how often do I get to walk around naked outside? But with more people, especially if a lot of them are dressed, it's not all that great, though it's also not terrible. 

- all the naked people lying around on the meadow and walking around, hanging out by the side of the lake, getting in and out of the water (and I say "all" - some times of day there are scores on the meadow and handfuls by the water; yesterday morning there were zero to five on the meadow and 3 by or in the water I think) - for me those people are mostly permission for me to be naked. I am certainly not particularly looking at them, especially since I don't have my glasses on and I can't see them as much other than a flesh-colored blur, except as an interesting phenomenon - somehow the people I have tried to talk to about it here seem to be hearing what I'm saying as about sexuality or I don't know, about looking at bodies or being looked at, and it just isn't that, it's about individual people feeling free, taking the freedom, using the freedom, to walk around or lie around or swim around naked, and by doing it in the open air and in this place and in all their differently aged and sized and drooping or sagging or tanned or white bodies, making it a safe space for me to also go with my tremendously imperfect body in which I nevertheless feel very much at home.

We're having play-reading group at the lake next week, that should be pretty cool.

Yesterday was really a very nice day in so many ways, jogging and lake at the beginning, some e-mail and things I think in the middle, oh yes also an amusing choral rehearsal for our institute's good-bye party and a pleasant lunch at the institute with some friends we like very much, and then choosing and printing out the play for play-reading group (we read Oedipus at Colonus to complete the trilogy that we'd read out of order - Oedipus Rex last week and Antigone a number of weeks ago), a little bit of time at home and a tiny window with Felix and then off to play-reading group which was lovely. The evening encounter, after my bedtime and in a group where this one woman clearly, I think, just did not want me to be there (there was a whole gender thing; women usually like me and I usually like women, I can't say *some* of my best friends are women because 90 billion percent of my best friends are women but this woman was making me feel like she was liking hanging out with those men plenty fine and there was something about me being there that she was just going to make me feel as uncomfortable as possible - we'd just had a conversation with her a few days earlier about cross-gender friendships and I think as I'm writing this I'm realizing one issue, I think, with her is that most of the grownups I know who are actually committed to trying cross-gender friendships do try to have a lot of it *not* be about the gender but it feels like she wants everybody to be aware of her gender at all times - oh I don't know - I felt uncomfortable and defensive and threatened, as I said, but it felt to me as though *she* started it, she was as I said quite rude to me and I thought: so does she feel threatened by me, she's on the defensive - I'm generally not threatening!).

OK. Nuff of the rant. Sister heard it earlier in e-mail, hubby heard it on a walk this morning, and then we had our morningly Proust read and now I'm doing laundry and blogging and later, maybe, the lake the lake and then a couple of hours with baby niece. 

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