Feb 5, 2009

leaving the body

As a kid, I was obsessed with Lois Duncan novels and the concept of astral projection—willing your spirit to travel free of your body. [There was the thrilling story about Navajo twins separated at birth, one good, one plotting vengeance for her unhappy life. When the lonely girl's body dies her baaad spirit shows up and takes residence in the body of the happy one while her spirit is out running around. What could be more exciting for a pre-teen?]

And, the unruly winter weather has me admiring snowshoes for runners that have springs in them, turning otherwise boring ground-bound humans into snow kangaroos.

But neither of these examples are the body leaving I refer to: Rather than worrying after my soul, I'm pondering where the old bod will go when I die. Cremation seems like a waste of resources. Burial is good, but chemicals and makeup and expensive coffins are yuck, and not what we ought to be planting in the earth. In other countries you can be same-day buried without all the chemical pollutant fuss, but in the U.S., that's still rare. There are new eco-cemeteries, but somehow I expect they find ways to charge you an arm and a leg. I'm into the idea of simple home burial. Plant me with my cats in the side yard.

This is the best thing I got out of Six Feet Under. [Some slack here, please: I was sick delirious dying, and the gfriend rented full seasons to distract from the agony.] Annoying funeral director Nate buries annoying vegan chef Lisa au naturale, no box, in the woods. No rows, no markers, no mowing or plastic flowers. The idea seemed so lovely, and so illegal.

Heard the rumor that Tennessee is the only state where you can bury your human loved-ones in your yard. Go to town with deceased cats, dogs, snakes, rats, rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, deer, and birds, but it's gonna cost you to lose your humans.

I thought of leaving my body to the faeries at Short Mountain. They'd get some good compost, and would likely have a ritual involving drumming, which would make my hovering spirit happy. Mom fiddled with the fantasy by bringing up the difficulties of legally transporting a human body across state lines. I guess I'll have to get old on communal lesbian land in TN, and, if at all sick or feeble, will have to be restricted within state lines. (Turns out Ohio and Vermont will work, too.) Preferably, I will expel my last breath within dragging distance of a good-sized compost heap.

Or, the gov could chill and let us have our dead in every state.

Note to swimmers: Ocean dumping is legal!

The beautiful GONER tag is by Jonathan Berger, from his Founder, GONER, Seer series of shows in 2007.

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