My first lengthy sojourn into the mountains of Arkansas was a memorable experience for several reasons. To begin with, it was the first time I have really hiked as opposed to just taken a walk in the woods. I am not a girly-girl, or at least I have never been accused to my face of being one, but I did not grow up in a rural setting, Despite what people may think of Iowa, and its small cities and towns, the majority of us are urbanites of the lite variety. The only real camping I have done could hardly be called that as it took place in campgrounds that are the great outdoors equivalent of suburbs. Second, it was the kind of less than idyllic situation where if things were going to go wrong they certainly would, but despite the lack of scenic diversity and the winding trail that teased us by seeming to never take us too near where we wanted to be mile after mile, it was a really wonderful day. Finally though, and most importantly, I learned to pee in the woods.
When American poet, lecturer and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson ( 1803-1882) said, “A man is related to all nature.” He was probably not referring to his ability to pee all over it. But, that is what my future husband, and indeed all men everywhere, are perfectly capable and content to do.
I was quite prepared for the necessity of making like a guy and pulling up a tree or shrub except for one tiny thing……I had never pee’d in the woods before. Ever. Not once. Whereas all little boys, it seems, become acquainted with urinating just about anywhere no one will see them (and a lot of places that are pretty much in the wide open – as an example, the boys on my five year old nephews tee ball team simply run out to the farthest side of the right field, turn away from the stands and water the weeds that line the field. Well, everyone except my nephew who, not having mastered the “discreet” part, would drop his pants and moon everyone as he contributed to the weed watering.) Little girls though, unless they are Canadians apparently, are not encouraged to believe that the world is their toilet.
And so, I needed instruction and the only teacher at hand was……well….a man. A man who had not given much thought to impromptu female urination in the wild lessons. But after a few perplexed moments, my dearest husband to be managed to convey enough information to make me believe anyway that the whole peeing outdoors thing was not such a feat after all.
“Just find a tree to hold onto for balance,” he told me, “pull you pants all the way down to your ankles, hang onto the tree, and stick your bum as far away as you can. Oh, and try to pee downhill.”
Nothing difficult about that. Is there?
Well, first of all, I didn’t want to be seen peeing even if the only one who could possibly see me had seen me naked from angles a whole lot less flattering. Then there was the issue of not getting the jeans and panties wet. Very important since there were a lot of hiking hours left and no change of clothing. I wasn’t smelling all that great anyway. No need to compound matters. Finally there was the balancing issue which of course would greatly influence the keeping dry issue, A woman would not want to be caught mid-pee by anything or one is my impression because at that point there really isn’t anything she could do but finish up.
Afterwards I did not feel the liberation I supposedly should. Instead while listening to Rob’s discourse on the options for number 2, I decided that peeing in the woods was just going to be one of those things you become proficient at rather than something you take pride in accomplishing. It was just peeing after all.