To be one with nature
For a guy who has camping down to a fine art, my husband still manages to scribble outside the lines. And I’m calling him on it.
He’s an expert camper; he becomes one with nature. His camping pillow, before my arrival to his life, was caked with dirt, sweat and body oils. Doesn’t get much more natural than that. He spends hours splashing around in a river: building a dam, kayaking, swimming to islands to retrieve wood on “man expeditions” or floating with a cold beer in a koozie. He could entertain himself, let alone survive, in the wilderness for weeks at a time by himself. Admittedly, I could entertain myself and survive for a weekend, with a carload of food and shelter items, packed and set up by the husband.
We don’t always agree on camping best practices, but enjoying nature together is something we do do (Read: doodoo).
Which brings me to my point. Last weekend, he was appalled at my interpretation of becoming one with nature: going No. 2 near a tree or bush. Human waste of that sort belongs, according to him, only in the pit beneath the gaping hole, swarming with flies, surrounded by putrid smell, further encased by four walls and a ceiling that trap, heat and thereby expand the molecules of reeking filth. Also known as the outhouse.
Last time I checked, the many critters large and small with whom we share campsites are aligned with my philosophy — this stop on the circle of life route should be in the open air, not suffocating in a man-made hole of Hades. Our waste will decompose and fertilize the land just as the animals’ will.
My husband would argue that if everyone followed my line of thinking, campsites would be overrun by human waste. If that’s true, and we can predict the outcome of every camper adhering to our example, then we need to drop this crappy issue and move on, because campsites will soon be overrun by carcinogens. … Follow me to the culprit (and watch your step)…
Said husband, while careful about human waste, is quite careless about man-made waste. His campfires burn everything from wood to Coors Light boxes to sytrofoam plates to plastic containers. Polyvinyl choloride (PVC) products are in bottles, wrappers and lids. When burned, one of the
combustion products is hydrochloric acid, which is acrid, corrosive and toxic to human tissue. Styrofoam, a polystyrene, burns to produce extremely fine particle soot similar to diesel exhaust that can enter the lungs and pass into the blood stream. Many plastic bags with liners, made of Teflon, decompose in a hot fire giving off hydrofluoric acid, which is extremely toxic — a potential agent for chemical terrorism.
Too extreme? Possibly. The amount of campfires and Teflon needed to reach terrorist levels is probably more than our self-contained marshmallow-roasting flames. But if it’s between his damage to the environment and mine, I’d say mine wins, hands (and pants) down.