By Debbie and Oleg*
Creative ideas that are not limited by current thinking are often described as “blue sky thinking”. Our Naturist club recently ventured into a bit of its own “blue sky thinking” by asking the question “How can we attract new people to make our club more vibrant?” The answer actually involved looking beyond the blue sky into the stars.This is our story about a wonderful weekend at the end of October when we tried to reach for the stars.
Naturi is our small piece of paradise nestled in the Australian bush on the Central Coast of New South Wales. It is usually a sleepy place where we can shed our clothes and enjoy uninhibited sunbathing, swimming, mini-tennis and walking through the magnificent bushland, particularly enjoying the many Gymea lilies, banksias and birdlife.
We also enjoy the friendship of similarly-minded people who believe that nakedness is our natural state in which we are more fully able to connect with our environment and relate to other people. But on the last weekend of October there was a definite change of mood as Naturi bustled with an influx of newcomers who joined us for our open day and astronomy night.
Members of our club have a diverse range of professional backgrounds including teaching and research, health, legal, hospitality and trades, but we all share a love for nature. Getting directly in touch with nature is a great way to reduce the many stresses of work and daily life, but sometimes we really need to take an even bigger step back and see ourselves in the context of the Universe.
Stars in our Eyes
Fortunately some of our members are keen amateur astronomers and after discovering a high level of interest within the group, offered to bring their telescopes to the club so we could have the chance to gaze deeper into space. Swelling excitement about this event and inspiration from the success of the April “Art in the Nude” event at Newcastle Art Gallery resulted in club members recognising this as a great opportunity to reach out to the community and attract people to experience naturism for the first time.
Members decided to have an open day and astronomy night as one event, and it was publicised on our own website www. naturiclub.com and on the TAN magazine website. This publicity led to many enquires and the event was fully booked a week in advance.
Welcoming our Visitors
A number of dedicated members put a lot of work into preparing the grounds and facilities in expectation of a crowd unseen in a decade. To cope with the number of cars and tents on the grounds a detailed map was intricately drafted and accompanied with a welcoming letter and a full schedule of events and sent to all participants.
As the event drew nearer, members anxiously watched the weather forecast for the weekend and began planning alternative activities as the chance of showers increased from day to day. When the day finally came and we set off from our Blue Mountains home we were at first disappointed as it was cold and raining, then excited when the clouds parted as we reached the Pacific Highway and elated on arrival at Naturi when we were drenched with sunlight sparkling through the freshly cleansed air. We set our tent and by 11am we were ready to welcome the first visitors.
We all felt a bit anxious as to how people who had never experienced social nudity would feel and this was pre-empted in the welcoming letter which reassured everyone that they could take as much time as needed before they undressed. Naturi has that special relaxed and natural atmosphere where clothes seem to be a burden that society has put on us and within minutes our visitors were all garment-free and busy with numerous activities.
Fun, Games& Food
Competition on the mini tennis court was more fierce than usual and attracted quite a crowd of spectators. Pétanque offered more gentle entertainment and swimming attracted the brave- hearted as it was still a little cold. Once the wood-heated sauna was fired up and our sweat was running and removing our toxins at 110 degrees C, a quick shower and leap into the pool provided welcome cool relief.
Our astronomers set up two telescopes and by 5pm we were all ready for some nibbles and drinks. Chilled sparkling wines were opened and the whole group became involved in spontaneous and happy conversation hardly noticing that clouds had started to build up, even though those same clouds kept the temperature warm enough for us to stay outside as darkness was settling.
After our BBQ dinner, when the cool of the evening made outdoor nudity difficult for the bravest of us, we retreated to the warmth of the fire in the club house so we could stay nude. Raffle tickets were drawn and the two lucky winners each received an annual subscription to TAN magazine.
The Joys of Discovering Naturism
One new comer who had never experienced social nudity, not even on a nudist beach, was so overwhelmed with the feeling of acceptance and comfort in our group that she kept saying: “I cannot remember ever feeling so quickly, friendship with so many people. It cannot be that this is just because we are all naked. We must have something more in common, perhaps our love for nature”.
We also often wonder what it is in us that becomes liberated when we experience social nudity, but whatever it is, we feel a special privilege to be able to enjoy something that so many people never give themselves the chance to experience. It was great that Naturi was able to provide this opportunity to people in the general community and we were all enriched for the experience.
We had a poet – and we didn’t know it!
To our delight, after dinner one of our members with a poetic soul agreed to read his lyrics which were as follows:
The Naked Astronomers’ Prayer
Here we stand completely bare
No shirt, nor shorts, nor underwear Some without their pubic hair
Dear we pray you hear our prayer
We look into your realm this night
To gaze upon your Heavenly might And as we do we hope tonight
That you look back at us and take no fright!!!
Clouded Skies but Clear Thinking
Mid-evening, we turned our attention to our passionate astronomer’s introduction to the awe inspiring scale and beauty of the cosmos. Even though the clouds prevented us from any night sky views through the telescopes, our eyes were opened to just how vast and wondrous our Universe is. Our Sun is just one of 200 billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy (it would take a person 6,300 years counting continuously one star per second to get to this number). The Milky Way Galaxy is one of over 2 trillion galaxies in the known Universe and counting one galaxy per second it would take 63,000 years to list them all.
Such numbers can make our problems seem very small indeed. But such numbers also help us to grasp how special life is and they inspire us to make every day count.
Camping and Sunday Relaxing
Most participants stayed overnight and our beautiful community continued until the last visitor left at about 4pm on Sunday. It was so nice to spend time together, enjoying warm weather and relaxed friendship, a reflection of what is wonderful about Naturism. We did not get to see the stars but seeking them brought smiles to many faces. Friendships were formed and by the end of the weekend we had six confirmed new members and another five people likely to join in the near future.
Looking Further Afield
The telescope is a great metaphor for what our open weekend represents. We are starting to look further afield and outwards to see how we can grow our club. We have learned that there is a real interest in the community to experience social nudism, and that the key to getting people to come along is to provide an event that sparks people’s curiosity. It does not just have to be about being naked. It is about sharing who we are and the things we are interested in.
We are already planning our next event hoping to share with visitors some other aspect of our natural world, and with it, our love of being naked.
Keep an eye on our website: www.naturiclub.com,
or email us at [email protected] for more information about our next big event!
*Co-author and photographs Rod Berry