I mentioned this story to a few people who read my previous post. I wrote it 9 years ago. I said I would post it. So, without further ado:
What I Did On My 44th Birthday
Today is my 44th birthday. At this moment I am sitting on a granite ledge, in an oak wood, above the bay. A lone gull cries, invisible in the silver-grey clouded sky. The cold wind whispers through the pine. Last years’ oak leaves rustle dry on the ground. Peaceful. I chose to spend the anniversary of the day of my birth with my dog, Willow, in the woods.
A few moments ago, as this spot arrived us, I pulled down my jeans and took a poop as can only be taken in the out-of-doors. Each long, sienna-colored turd that oozed out fell softly into the crisp oak leaves. With a sense of reckless extravagance, as much as from experience, I moved my squat with each one. If you take a big poop, it can pile up and poke you in the butt.
This is a pleasure of mine. To shit outside.
Willow caught the scent and came over to investigate. O.K. He sniffed. He’s done it before. He is after all a d-o-g. Then, tentatively, he began to eat one. Hmmm. I don’t object when he eats deer poop or horse shit. “Predigested protein. It’s good for him.” So, I swallowed hard, did my best to turn off my judgment and watched a bit squeamishly as he ate. He followed my roving squats and polished off each turd. I thought, “You won’t be licking me for a long, long time!”
And then—I saw it in my peripheral vision as I squatted 5 feet away with my pants around my ankles and so, was powerless to stop it,—he rolled. His neck, chest, and his collar. It clung to the collar and tags in great fudge-soft globs. All I could do was laugh. And laugh.
What else could I do?
Then, he shook. I was splattered with my own shit like bacon fat. So, I laughed more as I dug through the leaves to reach the leaf mold, the fragrant decay of trees and a thousand other lives that have passed through this area for eons. And I scrubbed me and I scrubbed Willow. And we both dug and rolled in the soft, savory soil.
The sweet, earthy aroma rose into the April air like a balm or incense in a holy temple.
And so, we were cleansed.