March 03, 2008

Poop Springs Eternal

Well, tonight it is supposed to snow, so you might not guess it, but--we're heading towards spring. We've had three days worth of thaw, and some bright sun, and that means: spring! soon!

But it is not yet spring, and not only because we are expected another freeze. No, we're in that weird liminal season between winter and spring which, in our neighborhood, is marked by: disolving doggie poo. Everywhere.

All winter, people have been letting their dogs poop in snow banks. They probably didn't mean anything by it. Probably they just didn't expect the dog to poop twice on that walk, and only had one bag, and were wearing their slippers anyway, and didn't feel like wading into a snow bank and getting their feet frozen while digging around for a sunken pile of poo and then trying to untie the old poo bag and get the new poo in without letting the old poo fall out. They probably felt kind of bad, but decided that it was really cold, and afterall, it was only one poo.

But we live in an awfully dense neighborhood. So that one little poo had been joined by the poos of other dogs, owned by other slipper-clad dog owners. Lots of other dogs and other poos. All those innocent little poos have been hidden and preserved by the winter chill. And now, in the thaw, the melting slush drips away leaving dead grass, black earth, and a medley of moistened poo piles, eroding away into little poo rivulets, accumulating into little poo puddles in the gutter. It is the season of dissolving poo.

Brandon came in from walking Ada this morning, and said, "it's dissolving poo day." And I sighed. But we are more used to poo around here, than we used to be. Especially because Elliot isn't eating much these days, we tend to see poos as hopeful things. As in: he pooped? Ah! Well, he did eat something! He's growing after all!

And in that spirit, and in honor of the (dissolving poo) season, I have been thinking about this poem, by Maxine Kumin. I'll paste it in incase your home is similarly preoccupied by the signs of...growing things.

Excrement Poem
It is done by us all, as God disposes, from
the least cast of worm to what must have been
in the case of the brontosaur, say, spoor
of considerable heft, something awesome.

We eat, we evacuate, survivors that we are.
I think these things each morning with shovel
and rake, drawing the risen brown buns
toward me, fresh from the horse oven, as it were,

or culling the alfalfa-green ones, expelled
in a state of ooze, through the sawdust bed
to take a serviceable form, as putty does,
so as to lift out entire from the stall.

And wheeling to it, storming up the slope,
I think of the angle of repose the manure
pile assumes, how sparrows come to pick
the redilvered grain, how inky-cap

coprinus mushrooms spring up in a downpour.
I think of what drops from us and must then
be moved to make way for the next and next.
However much we stain the world, spatter

it with our leavings, make stenches, defile
the great formal oceans with what leaks down,
trundling off today's last barrowful,
I honor shit for saying: We go on.


Beck said...

There's nothing more springlike than the sudden revealing of all of the winter dog crap....

Michelle said...

Just noticed this myself-"has there been an increase in the number of irresponsible dog owners around here lately?" or "Jesus, there's a rabid crapper up in here" I thought to myself. From now on, I will be reminded that the annual Shit-Thaw is in fact a beacon of Spring. I honestly appreciate the reshifting my focus from a repugnant observation to one hope.