In April of this year I began preparing a new organic gardening patch,
planning to have it ready for next year’s expansion from a too-small garden
in front of my recently acquired Connecticut Cape Cod home.
I have neighbors toward southern exposure and behind,
between the Thames River and my sunset-facing backyard.
Here, next to an old, but still purposeful,
forest green fresh-painted deck
lies a mix of some rich dark soil
and some topsoil with unpromising smears of gravel stones
scraped off a dirt driveway
that turned to mud when wet
before I installed a pressed gravel drive last month.
next to the repurposed green deck
lies my new garden incubation project.
I rescued my deck floor last fall
from the bowels of a thorny bramble mountain,
some woody stalks obscenely pushing between heavy 2×6 planks,
now upper faced with little green stubs
since I rolled my lavish green porch paint.
But, the old railing around three sides was beyond rescue.
No longer with us, I’m sorry to say.
A sun exposed potential spot for a garden
emerged from my bramble mountain on the south side of the slightly raised deck,
about eight yards long on each of three sides.
I laid out my cardboard boxes,
stored in the grotesquely damp basement since I finished unpacking
After soaking the cardboard,
I covered it with a combination of compost,
top soil harvested from elsewhere on this property,
and peat moss.
Then I spread four to six inches of leaves over all that.
While I wait for this to transform into healthy nutritional soil,
I have been religiously peeing on the leaves.
At first I only reenacted this baptismal ritual under cover of night,
not so much out of modesty
as motivated by kindness,
as the sight of the elderly pasty white man who just moved in next door
outside exposing his peeing penis
might offend fragile first impressions of a fairly sane person
who might be expected to behave more reliably
with regard to neighborly decorum
and more traditional liturgical events.
More recently I started peeing in a yogurt container by daylight,
huddled up against the back porch door
where at least only my backside could ever become visible
to only the backside neighbor, so to speak,
who seems to be something of an ass.
But then, who isn’t?
Then I take my yogurt cup of warm pee
and toss it out across the leaves blanketing my next-year garden plot.
This ritual feels generous,
like sprinkling my soil with nutritional holy water,
of which I do have some, but far less,
yet perhaps a bit too much,
experience as a seminarian some decades ago.
memories of peeing with the other would-be angels.
Now I am concerned that I could use a great deal more urine
for my organic farming purposes.
Perhaps I should come out of my yogurt closet,
send out a note to my nearby neighbors:
“Hi. Just want to invite you to come over and pee
on the leaf-covered triangular spot
next to the south side of my deck,
anytime of day or night you wish.
Feel free to include your pets.
Make it a family destination if you wish.
In return for your investment,
I will probably have tomatoes,
and leeks (no pun intended)
not this season,
Maybe some extra peas too.
OK, I’m gonna’ stop now.”
“The neighborhood that pees together,
So, come on,
please don’t leave me standing outside,
preparing for next year’s yummy harvest.”
So I did.
This invitation has not generated the enthusiastic response I was imagining,
with neighborhood families dropping in
to drop off their deposits
for our neighborhood development project.
it did provoke my backyard neighbor
to jam a note into my otherwise vacant mailbox:
among your commitments to recycling and repurposing,
that you are an Organ Donor.
I certainly do hope whoever gets those organic parts
has a good harvest no later than next year.
Sooner is better.”
Now, how could we compost our collective humanure?