Friday, May 8, 2009

The outhouse

One could define a spiritual experience as that of being released from a prison to a state of perfect freedom. The prisons in which we find ourselves locked tend to be mostly if not completely psychological. Their liberation equally so: despair to love or from hate to joy. Euphoria can be experienced whenever our perception of reality moves suddenly from one opposite to another. Spiritual experiences happen all the time.

When the snow abated in the spring of 07 I set to the task of building an outhouse. Oddly enough I did not need a building permit for the house I planned to build. No such thing in Monroe. The state of Maine does, however have strict environmental laws. I did have to go to town hall and buy a $100 permit to dig a hole for an outhouse. The hole I dug had to be inspected by the local code enforcer. The hole had to be exactly 30" deep and approximately the same size across and back. As soon as I had dug the hole I called the inspector and he drove out (surprisingly promptly) to look at my hole. He climbed in, measured it, and told me to fill it in 6". It was a little too deep but other than that I had the go ahead to start building my out house.
It took me three days to build. No finish siding or trim work, but complete to National Park standards with a 4" exhaust pipe. I did not "use" the outhouse as I was leaving for the Cape that afternoon and the inspector might want one last look. Besides, I wanted to save the christening for my next visit..
In June of 07, my parents came to visit me on the Cape with my aunt Punkin and uncle Mike. After a short visit in Provincetown we all drove up to Maine. My folks were excited to see the land. I had been sending them photos and updates since the purchase. Upon our arrival, we took a walk around the property then went into Belfast (about a 15-20 min ride) to eat dinner and to check in at the motel where my folks and aunt and uncle were staying.
I could have stayed at the motel with electricity and running water etc. but I wanted to stay on the land, so I drove back that evening. At that time I had recently acquired the camper so I had a place to sleep and now I had an outhouse; an enclosed throne upon which I could poop with dignity and grace. As luck would have it, I had been constipated for the last three days. Whether that had anything to do with my parents visit I don't know. What I did know is that I needed a bit of comfortable me-time.

As soon as I had arrived back at my land I made way to the outhouse with haste. It was dusk, nearly dark. I settled onto the seat and sat with the door open. It was a beautiful scene to see the tops of the trees against the darkening sky. Then one by one fireflies began to light up the darkness until there were hundreds of little sparks diving back and forth. Seated firmly in the Captain's Chair, with a couple of puffs of Mary Jane, I was ready for take off.
I must have sat there for half an hour. It is to date the most memorable bowel movement of my life; perhaps a spiritual experience.

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