A MEME MAKING THE ROUNDS on social media on the internet finally found its way to my Facebook page. The first line is, “You come from dust, you return to dust.” This is a paraphrasing of an entry from the Old Testament: “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). The next line is what makes the meme memorable: “That’s why I don’t dust—it could be someone I know.”
While this has received a few “likes” and positive emojis, one of my friends wrote something serious: “Some of a friend’s ashes were sprinkled around his favorite music club.” I have seen several movies where ashes were set free over a favorite spot, such as the waves of an ocean.
This caused me to ponder a bit on what’s the best way to “use” the remains of your loved ones who took the first step on the next journey. What follows is an alternative method for our society to deal with those remains. I did not spend much time thinking this through—I just wanted to get it out there for others to read.
What to do with the remains
So, instead of the modern burial, I suggest that communities set aside a section of good land. There, that community’s members are buried but without a casket. Families can have their loved ones “prepared” by a mortician to look “good” or “normal” but without the use of any toxic chemicals.
The body would be placed in a hole with some natural substances (such as ground magnesium limestone). In this way, the remains would rot and act as fertilizer, returning their nutrients to the Earth from whence they came. That is, one would truly return to dirt, if not quite as dust. Each person’s final corporal contribution to his community would be to serve as fertilizer.
As each section was filled with bodies, fruit trees would then be planted in that section. Once a year, families of the buried person could visit the orchard and be allowed to pick fruit from the trees to take with them.
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page was cropped from this photo by S. Nou, which I found on Unsplash.