Seldom Scene - A Privy Is the Place To Be


Big Pine, Madison County, NC, 1979.


I don’t mind an outhouse.

I’ve used them off and on

during my time in Madison County.

I like them for their simplicity.


I’ve read of cultures that believe

moving your bowels inside the house

is unclean and uncivilized. Imagine.


The flies and creatures of summer to contend with.

And stomach issues in winter are no fun,

especially with children.


I like an outhouse on a cold winter morning.

Cold enough for a union suit - the kind

with the flap in back that you unbutton.

If you roll up the fabric from the flap

it solves the problem of a cold toilet seat.


If you’ve built your outhouse with a good view,

with maybe a glass door.

Or perhaps an engaging novel is in your life.

A privy is the place to be.


It’s uses no energy.

Shavings and lime, wood ash, are all you need.


I recognize the stigma attached.

And how far we’ve come as a modern society

that we don’t have to shit in the woods,

or in a hole out back.

They’re not for everyone, I know.

A major city without indoor plumbing would be hard.


But here in the woods, with few people around.

An outhouse feels right.

In touch with yourself, the land, and the elements.

A place to ponder and reflect.