Dancing with Our Stuff

Wherever I go, I meet myself.” – Tozan

When I was climbing Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia about twenty years ago, the first stage of the ascent was to climb to the hut we stayed at until our summit attempts. At about 13,000 feet, it was a pretty rough shelter with nails that hadn’t been all the way hammered in, porch railings that didn’t go all the way around (see featured photo) and no exterior finish but it afforded us a good place to rest and try to summit the 18,510 feet peak.

The outhouse was just down a little path and set right on the edge of the ridge. That is to say, the hole in the floor opened directly onto a rock field. The placement was interesting and created some aerodynamic challenges. Anything light put down the hole would come right back up again.

This was discovered by the first climber from our group to go in there — a really funny, nice guy from California. He came back to the hut with his cheeks flushed, a little out of breath with a surprised look on his face. He announced, “I just spent 5 minutes dancing with my toilet paper.” At that altitude, any kind of dancing would take your breath away.

This always reminds me that, as the quote at the top of this post says, wherever we go we meet ourselves. Even when we are in the most scenic places, poised to accomplish some personal milestone, we still might have to dance with our toilet paper. If we’ve done our work, that can be more amusing than horrifying.

(featured photo is mine)

35 thoughts on “Dancing with Our Stuff

      1. Thanks for sharing about the Merriam-Webster game. I’m glad that you like it! I wonder if you, as do I still, set yourself a goal score? At least I’m relaxed about it now… 🙂

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      2. About the point of your article and our “stuff,” I can remember very cleary, as a child, believing that I could just hop a freight and run away from the situations I didn’t like, or feared. I wonder how many lifetimes it may take persons to realize that technique of coping doesn’t work. Took me a while.

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  1. This is hilarious! It harkens me to thoughts of my granddaughter who is somewhere on a mountaintop hiking the Appalachian Trail. No outhouse for her—just a hillside where she lost her balance and rolled downhill arse over tin cups with her pants around her ankles. No harm done, thank goodness, but what a visual, as is the dance with the TP. God bless the adventurers of the world who do it for the rest of us whose chicken-hearted room-service tendencies rule the day. Grow where you’re planted, they say, and now we can add dance with whatever shows up along the way!

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    1. Oh my goodness, Julia! Your story about your granddaughter is hilarious. And ugh! Good for her to being out there making the best of it all and having the time of her life!!

      Dance with whatever show up! Yes!

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  2. Lovely post And such a beautiful thought Wynne. Dancing with toilet paper…like nobody’s watching.
    I guess I have to go into the Reader or Web to see your featured image. It’s too bad the featured image doesn’t show up in notifications.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dance like nobody’s watching — I love it, Alegria!

      Yes you’re right about the featured image and the notifications. Funny what does and doesn’t work – and even more now that they are changing it around!

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  3. LOL, I laughed at the thought of dancing with toilet paper, then I remembered a very, very rough “outhouse” precariously perched on a rocky shore on the Island of Newfoundland on the Atlantic. As a kid, I REALLY had to go, and that outhouse was the only place. It was in a fishing village, frequented by tourists, so it may have been put up to discourage use! Apart from the wind blowing up a person’s bum, the waves would splash up, kind of a natural bidet!

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      1. Right?! I had totally forgotten about that until I read your story! 😬 Newfoundland is northerly enough that it gets the cold Arctic current, so even in summer the water is pretty cold, and being salt water too! Lol! I’m glad I didn’t use it bit the once! 😜

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  4. That is so poetic and such a wonderful phrase – it’s no surprise that you can recall it 20 years later. I imagine there are many “outhouse” stories out there. You could invite them. I recall one lovely woman I worked with (she always called everyone “dear” grew up with outdoor plumbing on the east coast of Canada. She ate lobster alot, she said thats what the poor ate because they could catch it I suppose. She said the outhouse was on a hill and the atlantic ocean blew hard in the winter and the outhouse was so exposed. There was no dallying in December when you had to go – and she laughed in the delicious sweet way she always did.

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  5. I love the life lesson and parallels you continue to draw from unexpected personal experiences.

    I can imagine that that altitude and at the edge of a ridge, it’d cure any constipation one may be having.

    The quotation is an apt one that I will reflect on this week! 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m laughing about constipation. You’re right – the construction was such that it encouraged you to get it done! 🙂

      Glad you like that quote – I find it always right on, sometimes amusing and other times irritating when I’ve found that changing circumstances hasn’t solved anything. 🙂

      Hope you are having a great week!

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