I am not making this up. And by my photo, you can see I am not participating, either.
This morning as I read the paper, I came across this little known fact: the American Association for Nude Recreation has declared that May 14 is Naked Gardening Day. According to the article by Canadian gardening guru Sonya Day, “Nude gardening is comfortable, saves on laundry, and makes for a quick personal clean up — just hose down”. Well, they have a point.
When I was nine years old, I went to camp for the first time. Camp Iona (a Presbyterian church camp in the Synod of Central, Northeastern Ontario and Bermuda) was a small wilderness camp near Bala. We slept in tents, cooked our meals over an open fire and spent our days swimming, hunting frogs and learning to canoe. It was glorious.
In the years that followed Iona would become my second home, but that first year everything was new–including how to manage without running water. I didn’t mind the outhouses at all–these were swanky fabrications painted in funky colours, and they smelled more like ferns than…well, you know. But being without a shower or sink turned out to be a bigger challenge for me. Surrounded by dirt all day long, and with a general proclivity for getting my hands dirty, I was constantly filthy. There was a reason my counsellor nick named me “Pig Pen”.
Many years later, I am not much better at staying clean when I am surrounded by dirt. I put gardening gloves on but somehow an hour later I can’t seem to remember where I left them. Even if I just stop to pull one tiny little weed on my way out the door, I end up with mud smeared on the cuff of my shirt.
And this is why–although I am not participating–I can understand why naked gardening might be practical for some of us dirt-attracting types. Mind you, I would worry about the kind of sun burn that could result. And think I probably don’t want to see my naked neighbours bending over to pull their weeds, either.