Haibun : Lupin Lodge, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA
Leave your clothes at the gate (clothing optional). Turn off your phone (your likes and follows can wait). Take a break. Wildflowers blooming. Look a blue jay! I’ve never seen a blue jay before (Actually a Stellar’s jay but how was I to know?). Jays don’t like Arizona heat but they sure love the Santa Cruz mountains up here. Wild turkeys wander by. Huh. Who knew they actually lived in the woods? Feral cats escape Los Gatos city down the hill (aware of the irony here) to frolic among the leaves. Besides kind visitors leave the cats a treat or two. The felines know a good thing when they’ve found it. Deer, ever alert and quite shy, look up to watch you walk by. Still miss your urban life? The freeway just 5 minutes away, passing unheard? You have the pool, the sauna and the clubhouse. And yeah, there’s wifi. But it’s daylight. Wait until night to take out your laptop beneath the stars. You can rent a yurt or put up a tent at a campsite. For now, enjoy the sun. Walk up the mountain trail (don’t mind me, I always huff and puff like this but it’s so worth it). Feel the sun kissing your skin, the sweat gently wiped away by the wind. The trees will tell you stories that once upon a time everyone knew. Be still. Listen.
breeze caresses skin
bending to touch wildflowers
trees spin ancient tales
haibun and photos by M. LaFreniere
photos are from walks at Lupin Lodge over several visits from autumn 2018 – spring 2019.
|Tree near the parking lot. I think this is a black walnut, one of the last survivors of a walnut grove that used to be here when Lupin Lodge was a winery before the 1920s.
20600 Aldercroft Heights Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95033
Phone: (408) 353-9200
There are couple of essays under their “welcome” tab if you’re interested in reading more about naturism and the philosphy.
Note: Lupin Lodge is a clothing optional retreat. If you have body image issues, I think it’s a great place to go because there are people of all ages from 5-85, and all weights. Before I lost weight and was at 250 pounds, confidence and body image always improved when I visited. In “normal” society, people often look down on heavier people but here weight doesn’t matter. People are social and friendly for the most part. No one stares (it’s rude, against naturist etiquette). No one is allowed to take photos and even cellphones are expected to be put away for that reason (There are some nice hiking trails outside of Lupin but very close if you want to take photos of the wildlife. You’ll want to wear clothes if you’re hiking outside of Lupin). At Lupin, you can run around naked, or topless, or bottomless or even with clothes. Whatever. Social expectations about how a body “should” look goes out the window when you’re at a naturist space. I love it.
Naturism just feels natural to me probably because as children, my mom took us to Japanese public bathhouses so being naked around others never felt like a big deal. I like being in the sunshine so I especially love it during spring and summer as mountain summers are much cooler than Arizona’s.
The Naturist Society under their “about” tab, under “faq” also explains naturism. If you’ve been to Burning Man, it’s feels free like that but it’s a lot less wild as naturism more family oriented. While the people who frequent naturist places are primarily adults ages 18-75, children are welcome. If children aren’t welcomed, it’s usually a hint it’s a different kind of place. In the last decade, there aren’t as many kids even in naturist places, welcome though they may be, which reflects the general decline of children as in the general population because it’s between the baby booms right now.
In response to a haibun challenge : Haibun Road
Haibun Road : a haibun weekly challenge (wk 14): Basho shared his traveling companion Sora’s haiku referencing changing clothes at the gate while I flipped it with leaving clothes at the gate.
You can do an Amazon search in the search bar. However, the search bar is very G-rated so words like naturism or nudism will not work unless you go to the Amazon site first.
FYI: I am an Amazon affiliate. That has no effect on your price. Amazon disclosure: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”