In Milwaukee, officials have taken a courageous stand against porta-potties for homeless people. This seems contrary to basic public health thinking that it’s better to have people pooping in a porta-potty than under a bush, a notion that seems to be widely accepted in public beer gardens, dog parks, and construction sites, but is somehow deemed outlandish and enabling when the portas are near a homeless encampment. This is yet another iteration of the idea that if we make homelessness too comfortable, everyone will choose to live on the street.
Part of staying on the beam is admiring berries. One can get absorbed by fury. Being mad and indignant starts to affect a person’s cellular structure so that aggravation starts erupting like boils all over the place. It’s maiming, anger is, so I’ve been trying to admire berries that I encounter, like these lovely specimens seen on a walk this afternoon.
In other news, our dog, Punchy, trotted down the beach this morning carrying part of a deer leg in his mouth. The deer leg still had fur on it. Why are there dead deer on the beach and why are they always in pieces? Our dogs know things. I can tell from looking at them, the vast wells of their experience and instinct present in their eyes. They come in the house only as a concession and because the sleep spots are softer, otherwise, they’d be curled up next to a carcass on the sand.
We stayed in these cabins once and now they’re abandoned. We came to the U.P. in the summer in an old Toyota with our 12-year old daughter and nearly two-year old son. The cabin’s screen door was missing so we had to close the heavy wooden door, making it hideously hot, but with the door open, the giant flies swarmed on our food. On the way home, our car died and we had to have it towed to a repair shop in a barn and then convince the tow man to take us to the bus station so we could get back to Milwaukee. Still, I remember the cabin fondly and am sad it’s going to seed.
I bought a rutabaga encased in wax. It was from an old woman who said she was keeping her farmer’s market open all winter and then led me to a cold storage unit, like a shipping container, that had bushel baskets of apples, potatoes, and squash. It smelled like my grandmother’s fruit cellar. So I bought a rutabaga. “How do you cook your rutabaga?” I asked her, thinking she might have some special U.P. secret. “Well, I boil it and mash it with butter,” she answered as if I’d asked her how to make toast, something anyone with any sense would know. I nodded, of course. That would be the way.
The portaloo sounds like a win-win to me, but what would I know.