The more we observe nature, the more we understand that death is part of it. And perhaps we even start to think of our own eventual death in similar terms.
My mom (God rest her soul) once expressed the desire to have her body thrown into the woods for the wolves. Of course, we had to explain to her, gently, that that was not legal. It was heartening to me, though. In her latter years, her values and mine diverged more and more, so it was heartening to me to hear her say something so late in life that I could relate to. To outward appearances, it seemed that life had thoroughly domesticated her, so I rejoiced to find out that she still had a bit of the wild in her.
If it had been possible to grant my mom’s wish to let wild animals pick over her bones, either it would have been a LONG trip to where there are wolves, or she would have had to settle for coyotes. In the end, she was cremated and scattered. It was what she could afford. But I adamantly refuse to be cremated, for more reasons than just carbon footprint. I have read about the growing movement for green burials, most of which involve turning into a tree. Those are appealing; but in the end I made a different decision.
I will be buried at sea. If necessary, I can invoke my VA benefits to make it happen; the Navy still conducts at-sea burials. I was pleased to find out that in at-sea burials, the casket is required to be made of biodegradable materials; I really do not understand this business of steel-lined caskets, concrete vaults, and what not, as if keeping the body from decomposing will somehow make the person less dead. The Ocean is the world’s largest and least trammeled wilderness, and wild animals will indeed pick over my bones – a hagfish is as valid a wild animal as a wolf.
I wrote a blog about it: We Are the Ocean