It's early Sunday morning. A lifetime of early rising protests that I cannot stay in bed. The warmth of my wife's snoring body says "stay", but though I close my eyes and cast about for the fading threads of a dream, I am waking up. At home, this would simply mean rolling out of bed and stealing silently from the bedroom to the rest of the house. But we are at camp. Our trailer provides very little "house", and there is also the fact that I am on the inside of a bed that has only one means of egress, and that involves clambering over my wife. Though she is sleeping soundly, I do not wish to disturb her, so I close my eyes yet again.
The sun has found it's way through carelessly drawn curtains and is coloring the insides of my eyelids red. This is impossible. I cannot sleep; my muscles are stiff from inactivity, my stomach has decided that it has been empty far too long, and my bladder is reminding me that I'm not twenty any more. Heck, it's reminding me I'm not forty anymore, either. It is time to get up. By extreme contortions that would undoubtedly provide great amusement for anyone peeking in our window, I extricate myself from the bed without disturbing my wife. Oh, she grunts, and her eyelids flutter, and an outstretched arm finds a pillow instead of me, but she settles back into rythmic snoring before the coldness of the floor has fully registered itself in my brain.
My, the floor *is* cold, but sandals are at the foot of the bed, and I slip them on. I decide not to risk disturbing Linda by using the camper's bathroom, so I quietly open the door and slip out to our porch.
The sun that was teasing my eyelids has only just risen. Dew on the grass sparkles, but the early morning air is cold. Ancient evolutionary designs attempt to fluff up hair that I never possessed, and succeed only in dimpling my skin. Momentarily I consider going back in the camper for a sweatshirt, but one of the secrets of a 28 year marriage is not disturbing your spouse without good cause, so I decide to pretend that the cold belongs to someone else. This works far less effectively than a sweatshirt would.
Renaissance is silent at this hour. The campfire still smolders from the Saturday night revelrie, but no one is up and about. Even our neighbor, who walks her dogs at six or so, will not be up for hours. The camp is mine, the air is unsullied by other lungs, and the sparkling grass will bend to my footsteps alone. And, my bladder insists, we had better get some of that grass bending, or it will be sparkling with a slightly different hue. Thus prodded, I began to make my way to the public restrooms.
Our trailer is in what is called the Ghetto at Renaissance. The Ghetto is located down mountain, and as it is the home of the wilder sorts of nudists enjoying Renaissance, only a few hours earlier it would have been a rowdy and noisy place indeed. But now it is pristine silence, and as I walk by our neighbors trailers and tents, I hear no sounds within. Trudging upward toward the rest rooms, I pass the rustic cabins that are rented out. We have stayed in these cabins before we bought our trailer, and I feel a momentary twang of compassion for the people within. Oh, well, I think, maybe they *like* being cold and uncomfortable.
The restrooms are now in sight, a few dozen steps away. Coming out from the shelter of the cabins into the more open space I must pass, I suddenly find myself face to face with another living creature who has also risen early: the bull from the neighboring farm.
Ah. Having had horses as a child, I am not immediately afraid of large animals appearing suddenly in front of me. That, of course, is a lie. I am not afraid of large animals properly saddled, bridled, and conditioned to think that humans are mostly in charge. The bull satisfied none of these requirements.
I was really not sure what to do. Nothing in my life has ever properly prepared me for this sort of encounter, and I felt that the bull had probably much more experience of humans than I had of bulls. Oh, I had seen this fellow before. We had seen him cavorting in his field as we drove into camp, and had many times stopped to admire his fine physique.
Well, I had to admit that his muscles were still admirable, but there is something about sitting in a car on the other side of a fence that adds to the enjoyment of such things. Being six feet away from eyes whose intent was completely unknown to me made me want to concentrate on the eyes rather more than the muscles, but part of my mind was thinking about both the muscles and the rather surprising speed that those same muscles could make such a large creature move. I figured I might be able to churn out fifteen mph or better for a very brief period. Somehow, he looked like he could do eighteen.
We stared at each other. We were, of course, both naked, but I don't think this matters to bulls. If I hoped to find camaraderie, our common nakedness was not likely to be the source of it.
A moments reflection brought me to the decision that retreat was in order. My bladder protested, but as my testicles were trying desperately to find their way closer to that organ, and as my palms were dripping sweat and my heart was threatening to explode, it seemed that, overall, my body was in agreement with my mind's decision.
I took a cautious step backward.
The bull took a step forward.
Millions of years of evolution have produced human brains that are capable of most wondrous feats. The same millions of years have produced bulls that will end up as neatly packaged steaks in a supermarket. Obviously evolution favors me over bulls, but apparently has decided that Proper Methods for Dealing with Bulls Not Sectioned and Shrink Wrapped was not something that needed to be hardwired in my psyche. Thus, it is proper to say that I had no clue what to do next.
What in hell do I do now? I thought of poor Linda, sleeping in her bed. I thought of how sometime later, someone would have to go knock on the door and somehow tell her the awful news. I thought of her grief. How would she get home? How would she tell our children that their father was killed by a bull not a hundred feet from the public bathrooms at Renaissance. I thought of our neighbors talking about the incident: "Damn fool. Why didn't he just go pee in the woods? Damn shame."
The bull suddenly turned it's massive head away from me. Having lost the opportunity to scrutinize the points of his horns remains as one of the major disappointments of my life.
Something back toward the gate and his farm had attracted his interest. Without another glance at me, he trotted away.
I proceeded to the rest rooms, and after taking care of my business, and peering cautiously out to be sure he had not returned, I scooted very quickly and ungraciously back to my trailer.
Getting back into bed disturbed Linda enough that she woke up long enough to ask me where I had been. "Had to pee", I said. "Umph" was all I heard as she went back to sleep.
I lay awake and thought about naturism. I decided I'll just remain a nudist, thank you anyway.