Nothing announces the beginning of a new whooping crane season at White River Marsh like the arrival of our porta-potty. It magically appeared in camp a week or so after I returned from Florida and by then, it could not have been more welcome. Like an old and dear friend… or a clone of one, it accommodates, commiserates and understands, and most importantly of all, it cares. This cocoon of hope, this confessional of redemption awaits each and every morning to dispense calm and relief. Best part of all? You can sit down assured that no airline has overbooked your seat and no airport gorillas are coming to drag you down the aisle while the Wright Brothers look down from above, shaking their heads and commenting, “We knew it! If God had meant for man to fly, He would have given us wings.” Also, with no one else in camp, the line outside the door is usually wonderfully short.
But like snowflakes, no two porta-potty’s are created alike. This year’s model seems smaller than last year’s… which is OK, I guess, because we are, after all, environmentalists and a smaller carbon footprint is the ethic of choice. Less really is more. But I have to admit that the economizing takes getting used to. The quarter moon cutout on the old door was reduced to one eighth and really doesn’t let in enough light, especially when they eliminated the automatic door light to save on batteries. And then there’s that new toilet paper, the kind the early pioneers used for windows and that requires an entire roll to get the job done. And why did they have to hang that role on such a small nail anyway?
I guess the thing I miss most is the music that began to play every time you opened the door. Sadly, the soothing, inspirational theme from, “Fly Away Home” has been replaced by a recording of an old man yelling, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” I mean, I get that most of us in the crew are fast approaching our golden years, but… seriously? And even that wouldn’t be quite so bad if this year’s model was wheel chair accessible. No such luck. This year’s door is so narrow a guy riding a unicycle sitting sideways could barely fit through it.
Once inside, things are pretty much the same as last year. Except for a couple of new rules. The sign hanging on opposite wall states “No Fishing.” Seems that Joe’s fishing expedition last year to recover his cell phone out of “Big Blue” prompted the State of Wisconsin to declare that all cellphones harvested from porta-pottys to be unfit for human consumption. Too many bones.
And the other new rule? “No Tweeting!” This is clearly due to the fallout from the recent Washington political firestorm highlighting the dangers of tweeting while on the thrown. In fact, Health Officials have declared that “Texting over Effluent” (TOE) has surpassed “Driving under the Influence” (DUI) and Alien Abduction as the Number One threat to public health and safety… to say nothing of National Security.
Then, as I try to exit the place, there is that big sign on the door, “All Ye Who Enter Here, Give up Hope”. Very demoralizing! Why do I get the feeling I’m standing in the open door of an airplane with a parachute on my back about to be pushed out. Perhaps it’s because I am! Like being reborn. At least now I know how a little whooper chick feels when the door opens and it’s finally released from the bird box after a long ride in the back of the tracking van.
Anyway, if you ever happen to find yourself in the area and want to stop by and take the “old girl” for a test ride, you’re certainly welcome. If I’m not around, just go on inside and make yourself at home, take your time and remember… it’s all about the journey, not the destination… so be patient… because what goes in, must eventually come out. And all good things must come to an end. Even Field Journal entries. So when you’re finished, just make a wish, then run for the door with everything you’ve got and hope for the best. That’s all there is to it. Sort of.