142. Picking a Tree

I’m both perplexed and want to burst out in rolling laughter. I don’t care. I really don’t. I thought that choosing the spiritual location for ashes was a gift in itself, but I can choose a tree to represent me as well.

The Earth Sanctuary representative, Chuck, wrote several responses to my questions about choosing a tree from that particular forest for my ashes to “rest”.  It all seems so silly, the way we talk about decomposition of the body, or placement of the ashes.  Living as human is temporary.  Being the true core of your being is permanent.  

<a href="<a title="TimBray / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Western_red_cedars,_looking_up.jpg"><img width="512" alt="Western red cedars, looking up" src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Western_red_cedars%2C_looking_up.jpg/512px-Western_red_cedars%2C_looking_up.jpg"&gt;
Red Cedar Tree is known as the “Tree of Life” Photograph by Tim Bray

The body is disposable, and far more recyclable than a plastic milk bottle.

Apparently, when we visit Whidbey Island in the next two days, I can stop in to the Earth Sanctuary and pick a location.  I’m both perplexed and want to burst out in rolling laughter.  I don’t care.  I really don’t.  I thought that choosing the spiritual location for ashes was a gift in itself, but I can choose a tree to represent me as well.

I think an evergreen is more my style than a deciduous leaf tree.  Something successful, that stands tall enough to see the sun, and creates a lot of oxygen to support the mammals.  A hemlock?  Known for its poetic poison.  A fir?  So, so, so many cones.  The fir trees rain thousands of irritating cones on the lawn at Dad’s house every year.  But in the forest, that is food, for the earth and for the small animals.  

Today, before I am actually walking in the space, I think that the answer is cedar.  The cedar tree is the spiritual representative of the north, of the elders, of those who have gone before us.  It is the regional representative of longhouses, canoes, ropes and baskets.  

The red cedar is known as “the tree of life”.  Life continues.  When I have stepped into death, I continue.  I am here now. I will, in a sense, be here then.

“As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be…” (the Glory Be).

Author: Michele Plumb Stowell

Michele Stowell was a teacher, a hand holder, and encouraging voice. Born an early Gen Xer, she has lived in Western Washington for the duration. Her children, two spectacular genetic daughters and an uncountable number of marvelous scout and school sons and daughters, shine as her biggest impact and her greatest blessing. Just before her 54th birthday, Michele was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Her writing and art work are expressions of the drama and the joy of living earth bound. On October 24, 2021, Michele was released from her physical body, transported to continue her work on other realms.

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