Monday, April 08, 2013

another stream of consciousness

As part of looking for work Ken and I have come to terms with the very real possibility that relocation might be necessary. We are fine with this. Except for the investment we've made in our home with various improvements and refreshers (and by investment I don't mean financial), there's nothing keeping us in the town where we live. People who were friends have become acquaintances, and the community-based groups with which we've been associated have shifted in importance for us. Having one foot lifted to put out the door--should it come to that--is a good place to be when you consider how absolutely bonkers our state legislature is. They're not fooling anyone with the use of the word "reform," which is simply code for stripping the substance out of every possible good thing that has been in place to benefit the citizens of this state. Okay, they are fooling a lot of people, but mostly because those people just don't pay attention and/or don't care. It's enough to turn my still-brown hairs gray. Thank goodness for color in a bottle.

Then again, relocation might simply mean 30 miles to the west (e.g. Nashville). While Ken is up to the straps of his bib overalls volunteering at Thistle Farms (think construction), the worship at St. Augustine's is more and more alluring to me. Yesterday the priest associate absolutely knocked the sermon out of the proverbial park, moving me to tears, and the blend of traditional hymns and folk-style/bluegrass/country sequence music, offertories and communion melodies almost has me dancing (I swayed in the pew). I had more than a few twinges during the morning thinking of how much I would miss St. A's if we were to move away. Let's not think about that.

After church we attended the adult ed hour on natural burial. Say, what? Here's Wikipedia's definition: "Natural burial is the interment of the body of a dead person in the soil in a manner that does not inhibit decomposition but allows the body to recycle naturally." The conversation with the presenter of this topic also addressed ways to make the experience of laying a loved to rest as personal and fulfilling as possible. Fulfilling might be an odd word, but when you consider that this woman lost her 26 year-old daughter to brain cancer, she didn't want to relinquish her daughter's body into the care of strangers during the rituals of farewell. She and other family members and friends washed the body, wrapped it in a shroud, and shoveled the dirt back into the grave when the body had been lowered. As she put it, she was the first person to wash and comb her daughter's hair, and it was only right that she be the last person to do so. Those who are interested in the practice of natural burial seems to appreciate two components of this. One is the personal involvement in the literal last rites connected to the person who has died. The other is an appreciation for and commitment to being friendly to the natural world: not adding concrete and steel to the ground through vaults and caskets, or toxins like embalming fluid to the earth's soil. Even shrouds are prepared organically and certified as suitable for burial. Wood coffins are made without using metal nails, and so on. 

These various components of natural burial have sort of captured my imagination. I'm still reflecting on the things I learned and letting various ideas pop into my head. In some ways this is a natural progression of thought, launched by my father's death a little more than a year ago, and come full circle now at Easter as we celebrate and consider the meaning and implications of resurrection. There are several other posts that could be catalyzed by that last sentence, but for now it is enough to say that the ground of my imagination has been tilled to receive these new thoughts and consider what meaning they might have for me. 

And then there are the crape myrtles, zapped by frost and needed attention to come into bloom. Isn't it ever thus? We live, we die, we are reborn. We lose, we grieve, we grow. Thank goodness we have each other to help us through.

1 comment:

The Bug said...

Moving might be a good thing if it brings to you a community where you can find a good close just-down-the-road friend - and I pray that you find that even if you don't move!

I've always wanted to be cremated because burial seems so wasteful to me. This natural burial business is intriguing...

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