Compost by Andrew Douglas

A composting toilet with a toilet roll on one side and a bucket of wood chips on the other side
Image Source: Canva

I’ve grown to embrace the putrid smell
of campground composting toilets
Sometimes, I even miss it…
It’s a positive association that’s developed throughout my life

– The mountain of shit composed of innumerable contributions,
   each with a unique chemistry –

That smell
 reminds me that I’m camping,
               which reminds me that I’m outside
               which reminds me that I’m alive
               which reminds me that this is finite

and wondrous
and ineffable
and potentially,

It’s easy to forget that camping has only recently become
 a peculiar pastime
The very word would have had no basis for distinction
  a mere evolutionary blink ago

So once in a while, do your inner Australopithecine a favor

And once in a while,
of those onces in whiles

               don’t get too drunk
        and don’t look at your phone

               Just sit by the fire
               swim in the lake
               stare at the stars
               write a little poem

And think about the people you love


Andrew is a Canadian musician, poet, and freelance writer. He currently writes for Heliconia (PaddleTV/BackpackingTV), as well as WorldAtlas. Commonly explored themes in his poetry include nature, spirituality, and the quirks of existence. Read more of his work at Middleside.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Terveen Gill says:

    Andrew’s writing literally gives one a valid reason to think. How many times do we actually do this? Simply think, reflect, and bring out the best in everything. Who could’ve thought that crap could inspire such deep dwelling. No sarcasm or mockery attached to this. Modernity and technology have stolen people’s attention, liquifying their brains to a distracted pulp, never satisfied, always complaining. Let’s give ourselves the chance to simply ‘be’ and cherish valuable relations, memories and places.
    Congratulations Andrew!


  2. You have encouraged me to try and embrace the smell of such piles. Richard. It won’t be easy, but I will try………

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jonicaggiano says:

    Nice to meet you here, congratulations on your publication. That is great advice. The picture you showed didn’t look too bad. It is so nice to write outside, lovely piece. That looked nothing like those disgusting out houses where there was no composting happening just lots of flies. So bad in Haiti I preferred to squat and dig a hole. Congratulations again, Joni

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cassa Bassa says:

    This took me by surprise. Stop the phone and smell the camping experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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