The outhouse at Meewasin United Church is a little miracle.
I discovered it one day while out riding along Highway 627 west of Edmonton near Keephills. The church steeple drew me in for a look-see. Nothing out of the ordinary, at first glance—the usual graveyard, spruce trees, small bell tower. Then I saw it: the shimmering white aura of the most beautiful outhouse in the world.
Truth be told, I’d been in need of an outhouse for some time. But seeing as how I was riding mostly gravel back roads in the middle of nowhere, I resigned myself, early on, to not encountering a proper toilet until I got back to my car and drove to one at the end of my ride.
I suppose that’s why my discovery of this biffy was so magical. It was unexpected and unlikely, kind of like stumbling upon a previously undiscovered lush oasis in the desert--the kind of oasis that features a perfect toilet.
|Looking south from the outhouse. That's the Genesee coal plant in the distance.
The Meewasin United Church craphouse is immaculately kept, cleaner than my own bathroom. The walls, bench, toilet seat and lid are all spotless, clean enough to eat a communion wafer off of. The full roll of bumwad is sealed in a plastic container with tight-fitting lid. Two—count ‘em—two hand sanitizers, topped right up, sit like chalices in the corner of the bench.
Here’s the miraculous part: it doesn’t smell. At all. Even with the lid up. The United Church doesn’t generally have much truck with miracles, but in Meewasin, we can at least say that the Lord works in mysterious ways.
But my favorite part of this outhouse has to be the porthole in the door. It’s a classy touch, with hints of both the nautical and the confessional, typical of the United Church’s inclusive, open-minded mandate. I stared out the hole for quite a while, even taking a photograph through it. For some reason, the world always looks a little better than it really is through a porthole.
I can’t help but wonder who is responsible for the upkeep of this glorious toilet. I’d like to meet this person, shake his or her no-doubt-well-sanitized hand and offer a hearty “Peace be with you.”