|Picture courtesy of http://www.wngd.org/
Well today was the day. I’d talked the talk… was I going to walk the walk? Saturday, 14th May 201 1 is World Naked Gardening Day and Facebook and Twitter have been awash with comments about it.
In the end what swayed me to take part in this interesting sounding occasion wasn’t my overwhelming desire to get naked outside, but the reaction of my three children when I told them I was thinking of doing so. They were completely mortified and once they realised that I might actually do it, even more so.
I then found myself explaining that we’re all born naked and that it’s a perfectly natural state to be in a safe environment etc… Sadly they were unable to explain to me why they were so hung up about the idea of wearing no clothes, and NO WAY were they going to join me. Already, they’d been programmed (or had we brought them up?) to think of nakedness as being very wrong. They giggled, laughed and cringed, not taking me seriously at all, so that was it. I didn’t mention it again but always game for a bit of a challenge…
After completing their morning activity drop offs, I arrived home and headed outside, determined to go for it before I changed my mind. A couple of points here… it was windy and cold this morning in our rural location so gardening outside was completely out of the question. Also, it couldn’t be guaranteed that the neighbouring farmer wouldn’t arrive suddenly to check his cattle so the only place I was willing to shed my kit was in the Polytunnel. It was a cosy 20°C and there were no chilly breezes either.
Also, just to be clear, other than an occasional walk around the house in my birthday suit when the house was quiet, getting naked outside wasn’t something that I’d ever done before.
So once in the Polytunnel, having checked that there was nobody around, I took off all my clothes.
In actual fact that was the worse bit as I couldn’t help but feel a bit daft as I stripped off, wondering to myself what an earth I was doing.
Donning only my silver pumps (this was a special event) I immediately headed to the potting bench where I could safely stand and transplant a few cauliflower and kale seedlings. After a few minutes and feeling a bit more adventurous I started to move around and tackle some stray weeds.
Surprisingly I enjoyed the feeling of walking around naked, just me and my veggies in an (almost) natural environment with the sun shining down, so feeling a tad braver I started looking for more things to do. I transplanted some tarragon seedlings, replaced a few munched up beans with some fresh ones and tidied the paths. I then sat and admired my work, enjoying the sensation of the sun on my skin.
Being new to naked gardening, it hadn’t occurred to me that I would have nothing to wipe my hands on (usually jeans), or that it’s a good idea to fill up the watering can beforehand (the tap’s by the front gate). I also had to evict a bumblebee and a horsefly. Other than that nothing extraordinary happened. I just pottered around in the buff.
After 45 minutes my little sojourn was over. It was back to the realities of child pick-ups and drop offs and I reluctantly dressed again.
My body is fit and healthy. It allows me to walk and to dance, to work and to love. It’s borne and breastfed three children. Yes, it has its wobbly bits – let’s face it, as much as we’d all love to have figures like Helen Mirren the reality is that most of us on the wrong side of 40 are unlikely to.
What it did bring home to me was that women of all ages have to learn to accept and love their bodies just the way they are. We’re too easily swayed by magazines, tv and even other girl friends. We’re so hung up about how we look we forget that it’s what’s on the inside that matters the most.
So if feeling better about who and what we are means getting in the nip once a year on World Naked Gardening Day (or more if you’re game for Dip In the Nip), then so be it…. I’m in (and by the way, next time it’s 40°C in the polytunnel and I’m alone… well, who’s to know .)