Saturday, February 04, 2017

Buried, scattered,,,or planted?

Image result for capsula mundi

No, I'm not obsessed with burying people, although I'll concede that I've blogged on a number of occasions about how we respectfully honour and dispose of our mortal remains. Having presided at more than 500 funeral and memorial services I've seen it all, everything from the poignant to the bizarre and back again.

One of my more confusing experiences was when I was told that a young man's cremated remains were to be buried in an urn shaped like a bagel. It proved to be my Uppity Canadian difficulty with a Nova Scotia accent. When the urn was removed from the bag it was in the form of his beloved BEAGLE. While it was still unusual, it made a lot more sense.

As you may have read along the way, I've become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of our farewells. The recent tradition of burial involves lots of chemicals which inhibit the process of decomposition but don't go away in a hurry. Cremation has been presented as a "friendlier" alternative but requires a lot of energy for incineration.

Amongst the alternatives I've written about are wicker caskets, a bicycle-drawn hearse, and cemeteries with graves marked by trees. I may have written about a process of composting as well, which sounds grisly, but honestly, how appealing is oven-roasting our loved ones anyway?

Image result for capsula mundi

The lastest is the one I like the most -- for the time being, anyway. It's called the Capsula Mundi and it's still in the concept stage. Designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel use an egg-shaped burial pod made from biodegradable starch plastic as the coffin, in which the body is placed in a fetal position and buried under the ground. A tree (or tree seed) is then planted over the top of the pod, which will use the nutrients from the decomposing body as fertilizer for its growth. Here is the descriptive blurb:

"Capsula Mundi saves the life of  a tree and proposes to plant one more. By planting different kinds of trees next to each other it creates a forest. A place where children will be able to learn all about trees. It’s also a place for a beautiful walk and a reminder of our loved ones."

Image result for bicycle drawn hearse

We have arranged to be buried in the lovely Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston, where Ruth's mother and my father are interred. It is an old cemetery with lots of mature trees. I could be egged on to be "planted" this way instead. With a concept name that includes "Mundi" I have to pay attention!

Have you decided on how you will be buried or scattered? Does this appeal to you, apart from the being dead thing?


roger said...

I don't worry too much about death, but I just don't want to be there when it happens. Sorry...I stole that from Woody Allen. Couldn't resist.

I'm figuring on cremation, but frankly, I don't really give a lot of thought about what will happen. I do give a lot of thought to mortality itself and the finality of our existence, but as to my body...well maybe I better think about it. I'm not getting any younger you know.

Unknown said...

Well, I like the idea of a tree instead of a headstone, but feel a little queezy about the pod. Too much like a green garbage bag, even if it is biodegradable.