16 May 2017

Shitting In the Woods

by Andrew

"I love to shit in the woods," the Italian said somewhen on the camino to Santiago. It was on another one of those days of the camino too, we reached a beach that had about 6 massive porta-potties to use, very luxurious. The Italian said, that he would take his shit now. I walked over to the water fountain to fill my bottles. I turned round when I finished, figuring I'd just wait for him to finish using the porta-potty. In the field just before the beach I saw him instead, the Italian, his white ass squatted-down, shitting. All I could do was laugh. I was becoming more and more used to it myself, preferring it even, shitting in the woods.

I'd camped and been homeless for about a year of my life total before I took that camino in Spain. But I was spoiled. Always near a town I'd stayed, a McDonald's or an university. And I was always able to just walk in and use their bathrooms whenever I needed. It wasn't till in Spain, where a bathroom is rarely ever so readily available, that I became comfortable shitting in the woods—though I had done it a handful of times before, shit in the woods, so to speak, always with success.

The Chinese I've read somewhere, from Tim Ferris I think it was, they shit like that, squatting-down over a hole. It's the natural way. And I agree. It's easier to pass like that, a shit, squatted.

It was also on that camino to Santiago that I learned that, that art—man-made—is only a cheap imitation of nature. How I groaned every time I saw a man-made set of wooden stairs approaching to either descend or ascend a slope, my poor knees. A simple dirt path up or down is so much easier on the body than stairs. And what does a toilet do? It tries to mock that natural way to shit, in the woods, and it does come close. But sitting a toilet is not quite the same as squatting-down. A toilet is art, only a cheap imitation of that natural way to shit. And I love shitting in the woods.

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