Due to a myriad of problems—some blamed on the pandemic—the septic system installation at the camp has taken far longer than anticipated.
Nope. It’s not done, not even close.
Do you know that schedule forty PVC sewage pipe is not all that plentiful this summer? I don’t know if any of this has to do with the infamous toilet paper shortage of 2020, but I am a bit suspicious. I’m still not all that worried about it.
Maybe, my lack of obvious concern stems from the fact that fifty-eight years on the planet prepare you for many disappointments. I still wake up at night and have fleeting thoughts—and then concern— about not completing all the chores I hoped would be finished this summer. Soon, I fall back to sleep, reassured that the outdoor privy with solid walls and a swinging door most likely will continue to operate like it’s supposed to for the foreseeable future.
I’ve said it before, but I am all but positive that utilizing an outhouse—at least a few times for long periods—builds character. The close family that swings by the cabin in the woods are not overly vocal about their disgust in taking frequent walks to the forest, but I know it’s frustrating to them.
Indoor bathrooms are a much more pleasant experience. If it weren’t for my Significant One, I would leave it just like it is. The simplicity of an outhouse is an odiferous balm that soothes a soul that tends to be overly pampered by an easy life. I am speaking about me, not her. I’ve had it easy. The outhouse reminds me that most of my forebears did not.
I’ve been reading an excellent book about the early settlement of Maine. Loggers—in particular—had horrific experiences when wintering and working in our deep green forests. They plucked the necessary timber used to create the infrastructure of all of the tiny towns that sprouted up near any body of flowing water.
In some instances, in the forests west of Ellsworth, Maine, the loggers slept in long, low-slung timber buildings with the center of the roof open to the sky. The fire to warm these huts was kindled in the center on frozen bare ground, later to roar all night.
Whole logs were dragged in by teams of oxen, from one end through to the other. This stack of tree-length logs would burn all night, usually belching smoke and ash throughout the quarters. The smoke would exit the building through the open roof, but only when the draft was perfect.
The timbermen would have warm feet, tepid middles, but their hair would become moist from the transfer of condensation occuring near the cold outer walls. Later, their unkempt hair would freeze—solid— to the hand-hewn timbers as they slept.
That’s a hard way to wake up refreshed. I can certainly take a three-a.m. walk in the woods to find sweet relief. I think of this when it’s raining and I am overwhelmed with my pampered tendency to scurry. I might slow down a bit, just so the ghosts of those calloused men won’t laugh and point from their frigid, smoke-filled, lumber camp in the heavens.
Typically, my initial period of slumber comes without the optionally installed dog. I find it hard to fall fast asleep with seventy-eight pounds of the beast lying across my legs. I shoo her away so I can plant my stakes in the ground I am not willing to give up.
My visits to the forest usually occur during my normal rising and shining period—somewhere around three-thirty a.m. Oddly, this is the exact time that Ellie decides I am groggy enough to allow her to make her move from the musty couch to the pull-out bed that I call home when I am away.
The natural instinct of this dog is to lay out so that all her body parts have contact with something soft. In the wee hours (no pun intended) she curls herself up into the tightest ball possible. Probably knowing that I am less likely to push her off if she remains small and still. I grabbed my phone to document this— in the dark— a couple of nights ago. The flash didn’t even cause her to blink an eye.
I bet those loggers would have loved to have a dog curled up on top of their singed wool blankets.
Yup, I can pee outside. No problem at all.
(Copyright Tim Cotton August 2021)
Hey all, thanks for your support in the last few months. Thanks for the notes, and your comments. You can drop messages at TimCottonWrites@gmail.com, inside of the comment section of each post, or in the BuyMeACoffee App if you determine to utilize that. Make sure you preorder the next book titled “Got Warrants? Dispatches from the Dooryard.” This is not a “best of” from the Bangor Police Page, these are new, with a few of the classics thrown in for old time’s sake.