Naked on the Deck

And other benefits of a home with privacy.

Lately, I’ve taken to relaxing on my deck after a shower or soak in the tub. Naked.

Naked on the Deck
This chair outside my bedroom door to the deck is a perfect place to relax after a shower or soak in the tub.

I can do that where I live. My north-facing deck is covered and blocked from the road by my home. There’s a hill to the west that separates me from my closest neighbor. To the north and east, the land drops away, leaving me with a clear view down to the Columbia River Valley with more than a quarter mile between me and the closest home or orchard.

I have a comfortable chair out there where I can relax, letting a warm summer breeze tickle my skin and dry water droplets my towel missed. I listen to the birds or the crickets or the orchard sprayers while looking out over miles of orchards, scattered homes, a small lake, the winding Columbia River, basalt cliffs, and the city of Wenatchee off in the distance.

It’s one of the perks of living someplace with privacy.

My home in Arizona had nearly as much privacy and I admit I occasionally lounged on my upstairs patio there after a shower or bath — mostly on a warm winter afternoon when the sun flooded the covered area. But I was far more likely to drop my towel at night than during the day; my neighbors were a lot closer and more likely to spot me out there. I’m shy.

My vacation home in northern Arizona was the ultimate in privacy. No one was ever around up there. That place also had a deep silence broken only occasionally by the sound of the flapping of a raven’s wings or a car wandering onto the rumble strip along the closest paved road two air miles away. Or a jet, 30,000 feet up, flying on the jet route over the Grand Canyon.

I value privacy — real privacy. That’s one of the reasons I live on ten acres two miles down a gravel road on the edge of town. Yeah, it’s a long drive — 10 miles to the nearest supermarket — but it’s so worth it.

People complain about loss of privacy from big data collection by social media or portable devices or government agencies like the TSA. Yet these same people live in homes 20 feet from their neighbors’ and rely on association-approved fences to keep those same neighbors from watching their backyard barbecues. Or they share walls with neighbors in apartments or condos and can hear their neighbors sneeze or argue or have sex. Or their windows look out into community spaces, thus requiring them to close the blinds if they don’t want their neighbors to watch them eating dinner or watching television.

I lived like that for a while: in a fishbowl condo that reminded me so much of a movie that I named the network Rear Window. I hated having to use blinds to block out prying eyes — and light. I hated the thought that I had to change the way I lived my life just because I lived so close to other people.

But here in my new home, I don’t have curtains or blinds on any of my windows. I don’t need them. No one is going to look in — no one can. And no one wants to — most of the people out here have their own lives and don’t need to poke their noses into their neighbors’ business. (Sadly, not all of them have learned what living in the country is all about, but I suspect they’ll learn that lesson soon. Seriously: some people who live in metro areas really should stay there. They’re not welcome here.)

So I’ll relax naked on my deck whenever I like, basking in the privacy that my semi-remote home gives me, glad that I made the decision to rebuild my life here, in a place I love, on my terms.

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