Green Rites

Close the ice box door!

Don’t let the water run!

Turn the light off!

Use a rag, not a paper towel!

As a daughter of parents who grew up during the Depression, my three sisters, brother and I were living green more for financial reasons than environmental ones. But the concept is the same.

Don’t waste stuff.

We dusted the furniture with hand-me-down clothing that softened into gauze from laundering. No specially treated throwaway cloths.

The kitchen floor was scrubbed by hand with a mop, rags and soap. The rags were washed and put back in the hall closet to use again. No preloaded plastic bottle and disposable pad.

Left-over meals were scraped onto the plate for the dog, until my parents could afford dog food to mix in. Skippy lived until he was 16 years old.

My father cut the lawn with a push mower. We pulled weeds with our hands instead of spritzing poison. There were no little flags on the front lawn warning people not to stroll across it for fear of glowing in the dark. The lawn was green because of whatever decided to grow there, not because of what was forced upon it. If it was green, it stayed. If not, it fizzled in the July sun while we slurped frozen grape Kool Aid ice cubes on the front porch.

Now living green options have expanded. Now you can die green, which must have our ancestors guffawing and slapping their knees. (“Look, Mabel, they finally figured it out!”) Having eschewed the idea of embalming, coffins and concrete vaults, I have always claimed that when it is my time to go, just dig a hole in the woods and toss my body in, as is, and pile in the dirt. Then, plant a native fruiting tree that will support wildlife, as nothing would please me more than to have my body fertilize a life that will itself impart life to others. My body will come full circle, just like carbon and energy are supposed to do.

Guess what? You can actually do this now! There are a few places popping up. My choice is Greensprings Natural Cemetery in the Finger Lakes Region in New York.

“Greensprings offers a sustainable and beautiful alternative to conventional cemeteries. It is a place of meadows and woodlands, where you may choose native trees and shrubs for planting on your gravesite, helping to restore the land to it natural state and providing shelter and food for wildlife.”

Not only is it geographically closest to me, it is also my preferred choice of habitat: maples, pines, and oaks; grasslands, fields, meadows. No manicured monoculture lawn, no towering chunks of granite. Just me and the sky, just me and the sun, me and the wind, me and the birds and bats and deer and bears and ants and mice and…life.

This entry was posted in burial, cemetery, conservation, father, green, Greensprings, lawn, life, living, natural, paper, poison, waste. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Green Rites

  1. Anonymous says:

    I was so moved by your powers of description. I year for a winter escape as well…..

  2. Anonymous says:

    That sounds nice. Originally, I was thinking cremation. Now, I’m thinking that maybe we’ll be neighbors for eternity! ; )BTW, GORgeous picture. Did you take it?Kim

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