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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Hooray Hooray it's the first of May!



“Hooray! Hooray! It’s the first of May! Outdoor *bleeeeeeep* begins today!”

Every year, without fail, my father would holler this anthem at the top of his lungs. Where the saying came from, I have no idea. I am not proficient in searches of the Internet for things of this nature. And I’m afraid what will pop up on my screen if I put those words in the search bar. Some also refer to the 8th of May as opposed to the first. In our part of the world, the 8th might buy you a bit more warmth for your frolicking en plein air. In any case, it is a tradition in many families to holler this silly proclamation each year, in celebration of finer weather for all outdoor activities.

The first Saturday of May, on the other hand, is recognized in many countries as International Naked Gardening Day. Apparently it began in Seattle, of all places, about 13 years ago, by a group of nudists. It’s meant to be a celebration of the human body and a day to get in touch with nature. I’m imagining this is likely more popular in warmer climes, where fewer bugs exist. As soon as our snow disappears, the blackflies arrive on the scene. They persist throughout the month of May, so unless you don’t mind getting covered in extremely itchy little bites, I suggest you slip back into your pants and shirt.

When I was young my parents had a friend who liked to garden in the nude. She had a sign at the end of her driveway asking incoming visitors to honk before approaching. It was a long driveway, thankfully, giving her time to pull her clothes back on before her guests arrived. I just hope she wore a good SPF in her sunscreen because she was a redhead and I imagine she burned easily.

I don’t see the appeal to naked gardening or doing other things in the nude out of doors. I’m not much of a risk-taker, and I don’t like getting eaten by bugs. I’m pretty careful about wearing protection from the sun, and I get enough cuts and scrapes while squatting in the garden while fully dressed. I can just imagine the injuries if I was buck naked.

I must admit, however, I did try it, once. We have a completely private back yard so I felt it was safe to be impulsive and spontaneous. I took all my clothes off one summer day and lay them out on the back porch before stepping out to weed the garden in my birthday suit. The experience was not exactly freeing, however. It pretty much had the opposite effect. I was feeling quite exposed and sheepish, and looked up, searching the sky for any sign of the Google Earth satellite. I remembered how surprised I was to discover that you could see those images in great detail, right down to a coffee cup left on a patio table. I was contemplating my exposure when I heard the unmistakeable crunch of car tires on the driveway. I had about two minutes to run back to the porch and pull my clothes on before my sister-in-law poked her head around the corner of the house to greet me.

“Hi! Whatcha….hey. What’s going on?”

I was just pulling my shirt over my head. I decided to come clean. She might as well know.

“It’s World Naked Gardening Day. WNGD…”

“What? What are you talking about?”

I explained, and she laughed, and reminded me of the Google Earth Satellite. That got me wondering. If Google captured images of a private nature, would they allow them to be broadcast over their mapping network? I began to worry about all of those young lovers, gallivanting in the great outdoors, naked as the day they were born. Imagine someone is searching the area on Google Earth, looking for prime farming or hunting land, and they are confronted with the image of a naked couple in an open field. That just doesn’t seem right. It’s meant to be a private experience, after all.

My advice to anyone wanting to celebrate the beginning of May with one or more naked outdoor activities is this: remember to slather on the sunscreen before exposing your private parts to the midday sun. And if you decide to foil the Google Earth cameras by heading into a forested area for tree cover, don’t forget your bug spray.

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