Spring in Florida is a wondrous thing, chiefly because of its ephemeral nature: if you're lucky, you get about a month of wonderfully warm days and deliciously cool nights, and the humidity combined with the heavy aroma of honeysuckle turns the air into a decadently sensuous perfume that caresses your body and tempts you to strip naked and bathe in the sheer luxury of it all.
These kinds of nights are a special treasure to me because, for as long as they last, they can make the multitude of voices in my fall silent, as if in silent appreciation of the evening's rarity. For an all too brief moment, I can be alone inside my own head, and think truly focused thoughts. These kinds of nights encourage me to walk for hours, and the rhythm of my footfalls soothes my troubled soul like a mother rocking her daughter's worries to sleep.
Nights like this encourage truly deep thinking, because they somehow disable the internal bullshit-meter that governs my thinking the other days of the year. For a short, glorious period, I am able to reasonably entertain all possibilities, no matter how absurd, and this enables me to short-circuit a lot of the self-sabotaging thoughts that typically encumber me. I do a lot of walking, a lot of thinking, and a lot of self-exploration, and while the theses I entertain nightly are patently absurd in the light of day, the fact remains that rational enlightenment can be achieved through a preposterous premise if I'm just allowed to think long enough. Even a false path can take you a few steps in the right direction, as long as you are able to fully discern its falsity, and if you can do so without having walked its full path then you have gained no small degree of wisdom.
Saturday was one such night, and upon returning home at a sufficiently late hour it occurred to me that fortune had presented me with a very rare gift: the opportunity to walk down my street, naked.
I can't rightly explain why the idea appealed to me so, but all the conditions were perfect. I live in a fairly rural suburb, so while I have neighbors my street is not packed with houses; in fact, there are undeveloped lots of pure Florida forest in roughly equal proportion to the homes. There are no streetlights, and only a few of the houses keep their porch lights burning in the wee hours, but there was a gibbous moon in the sky that provided light for me to see where I was going, yet also enough shadow that I would not easily be seen from any window. The air was warm, ensuring that I would not become chilled by walking about with my nethers exposed, but still cool enough to delay the hatching of mosquitoes for another few weeks.
In short, it was perfect timing. No one would see me, no bugs would bite me, and I could enjoy the thrill of being naked in the open air. Wearing only my crocs, I stepped out into the street...
... and into profound disappointment. There was no electric thrill of being naughty, no rush of getting away with breaking the rules. Instead, I was merely naked outdoors. It was exactly like being outside in shorts and a tank top, only without clothes. I wandered my neighborhood for a bit, seeking to capture some fleeting exhilaration, finding none. I returned home to ponder this new development.
What was the reason for this disappointment, I wondered? I am not an exhibitionist, hence my desire to walk at a time when none would see me. I sincerely doubt I was secretly seeking discovery. Was it the act of transgression I desired? None had seen me, so I had broken no laws. Eventually I had to concede the simple fact that it had been desirable only while it was in my head; that sometimes, the thought of doing something is far more sensual and desirable than the actual doing thereof.
Thus enlightened, I slept.