|upside-down tree, Collins Beach, Sauvie Island|
Sometimes an afternoon at a nudie beach is just what's needed. My friend M and I giggled at all the hairless, mostly retiree-age maleness parading back and forth along the beach, especially at the bald guy wearing only his Keens and his Bluetooth and even more so at a tall, well endowed youngish hunk who stopped to check his phone further down the beach, one leg perched high on a log, his back to us while we joked about Sasquatch having gotten a full-body wax job. (Hey, objectification should swing both ways.)
Of the handful of women we saw on the beach, most were walking hand-in-hand with male partners, as if for protection, though two solo women stood out, one who looked quite high while frolicking with a long stick, drawing what turned out to be large, precise curlicues in the sand, and another slim woman with large breasts who was walking ankle-deep in the river, picking up shells and stones. A tanned Latino man with a rounded belly and even longer hair than mine told us she was out on the beach almost every day collecting objects with which to build small memorials along the beach—for her cats.
|Collins Beach pier, Sauvie Island|
The sun high, I pulled up my top and showed my friend my new scars. This act sparked a conversation with a naked older man who approached us some minutes later, saying he'd seen my mastectomy scar and mentioning his niece's breast cancer and asking a few respectful questions about the reconstruction process, wishing me luck with chemo. Strangely enough, being at a nude beach with a bunch of old men made me feel even more accepting of my poor scarred body. We're all flawed people, clothed or not.
M and I lay on blankets for hours talking, our toes digging down into the cool damp sand. Growing hotter, even under hats, we waded into the Columbia up to our waists, the water clear, the river bottom smooth and dotted with frond-waving plants, little fish darting around our legs. Back on the beach, I snapped a few photos of the sand and sky because I didn't want to forget.