Every summer on the farm we threw a Summer Solstice party. There were plenty of locals in attendance, but it was more of an event for our friends who drove out from Portland. A Day in the Country! Complete with bonfires and barbeque grills (one meat, one veggie), croquet (because it is far too windy in the Gorge to play badminton), sing-alongs, and both dogs and kids running around in packs. The smart people brought a tent or camper and stayed overnight. Mike would cook up a mess of eggs, bacon and toast for the bleary-eyed survivors.
One year, Sean and Jen brought their kids, Ike and Tallulah—quite possibly the coolest-named kids in Oregon. The morning after the party, as I was on the deck squinting into the sun and sipping coffee, Tallulah ran up to me, wide-eyed and thrilled, beatific the way only a three-year-old can be. She delivered her news with an enthusiasm that would rival any Latin American soccer commentator’s:
“I went peepee, on the EARTH!” she enthused. “Mama said I could!”
Back in the day people relieved themselves of waste products, especially #1, anywhere they felt like it. While ducking into an alley and “watering a tree” still occur, it’s not particularly encouraged in the civilized world. But it’s fun! Easier for the penis-bearers, to be sure, but possible for anyone with a little practice (watch your feet!). And the nitrogen in urine is good for plants.
Everything about modernity removes humans from the natural world—shoes keep your toes from feeling the ground. Headphones block birdsong and the wind rustling the grasses. Toilets certainly have their place, but on a clear, starry night with owls hooting in the distance, or on a fresh summer morning with damselflies and hummingbirds flitting around, it’s nice to just be out there and let ‘er rip.
During her visit, Tallulah had petted a chicken, swung from a rope in the barn and raided the raspberry bushes. But if going peepee on the Earth was the highlight of her Day in the Country, so be it!