Learning about Death

I swear, y’all would think that I’d never been outside before, the amount I sit around now blogging about my outside, but the truth is that I really don’t feel like I ever had to think about it before.  About my place in it.  Here, we’re really stepping in after long decades of someone loving this place and planting things all over and taking good care of things.

And the thing is that I’m learning a lot from the plants that they left us.  Every time we kind of figure out what something is, I look it up on the internet and, with the exception of the roses, the general guidelines for what to do with them is “Spread leaves around them and let them do their own thing.”  We have a ton of leaves, so following those directions is pretty easy.

But it has me all the time thinking about how valuable dead stuff is.  All this stuff I used to throw away (or not)–hair from the bathtub, nail clippings, kitchen scraps, etc.  It’s all valuable.  Putting it in the compost pile and letting it break down and then putting it around the yard is an easy and important way to keep the living things healthy.

I was even reading up on what to do when you take a tree out, and many folks recommend that you cut the stump as low as you can, but then leave it, that the rotting roots are good for the soil.  Shoot, even when you burn wood, you can take the ashes out and sprinkle them on your peonies.

I don’t know how to talk exactly about how it makes me feel.  I mean, yeah, we could all break into “Circle of Life,” but that’s not exactly it.

It has to do with feeling like things are useful in all forms.  That you put, say, your hair in the garden to keep the deer away, and the hair breaks down and feeds the plants so there you are now, a part of the dirt that the plants draw from, and then you eat the plant and the land is a part of you.  That there’s the back and forth of feeding and being fed.

Anyway, I’m not quite getting at it, but it makes me doubly suspicious of the way we put folks in concrete boxes once they’re done.