151. Jesus Land

My Earth Sanctuary Memorial Tree reminds me of the cedars in Dad’s yard. When I was standing outside of the house, staring at the trees, it made enormous sense. Nyasha asked me recently, “Don’t you want your ashes to go to Jesus Land?”

My Earth Sanctuary Memorial Tree reminds me of the cedars in Dad’s yard. When I was standing outside of the house, staring at the trees, it made enormous sense. Nyasha asked me recently, “Don’t you want your ashes to go to Jesus Land?”

I don’t think that’s legal.

When we were kids, the clump of trees outside the back door was particularly dense. There was a trail that went through the middle of it, if you ducked down. The effect on the inside was something close to being sheltered, hugged by the trees. It is where the Bull Dog fell into the cedar stump, where Mic AND Mark fell from 40 feet up. We called this place Jesus Land.

Not only was Jesus Land an appropriate moniker because Mic and Mark survived, but also because it was our ritual burial site. All of the pets, eventually coming to a physical end, were buried in Jesus Land. It is sacred space.

It still has a few cedars, now a half century older. The lower part is open, and the fence is visible. Old growth does that. The ground shadow area grows less and less dense as the forest matures. Humans may have cleared a bit too.

My ashes in Jesus Land? If the house is still in the family, that’s a rocking great idea. There will be plenty of dust to spread around to multiple locations, and it completes a cycle… just don’t tell the real estate people. Not great for the property value!

144. Which Tree Should It Be?

If you visit the Earth Sanctuary, and walk along the edges of the ponds, look up the hill to the other side. There is a cedar there. You might have to search for a moment or two. You will find it, the one that is perfect, the one that reminds you that I am present in the universe… with you, now, and forever. Just be still. And know…

I really should visit more often.  The location of the Earth Sanctuary is somewhere between Langley and Freeland, maybe 15 minutes from the Clinton Ferry Terminal.

Let Peace Prevail on Earth wooden poster at the Earth Sanctuary, Langley, WA.
At the Earth Sanctuary, Langley, WA.

I love a good ride on the ferry, although it’s a bit creepy these days with no Titanic moments on the upper deck, and the inner benches half barricaded by red caution tape.  

Maybe some other year or some other lifetime, I will make it an intention to venture on biweekly day trips.  The yearly pass for the Sanctuary is only $35.  The Ferry would be the biggest expense. There is a cafe nearby that creates incredible avocado toast.  Definitely a trifecta of amazingness.

As we wandered the woods of the Earth Sanctuary, I was immersed in the experience of woodland scents and sounds.  But my eyes would strategically drift away, searching.  Which tree should it be?  Where would I want my ashes to be dispersed?  It sounds morbid. It was not.

The obvious choice, a cedar tree, left a lot of options.  Certainly, the Earth Sanctuary houses far more deciduous trees than evergreens at this moment, but there is still a plethora of cedar to choose from.

In the first day of autumn outlook, I could see that many cedars overlook the ponds.  Which one is the right one? 

If you visit the Earth Sanctuary, and walk along the edges of the ponds, look up the hill to the other side.  There is a cedar there.  You might have to search for a moment or two.  You will find it, the one that is perfect, the one that reminds you that I am present in the universe… with you, now, and forever. Just be still.  And know…

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).

138. Just Dump the Body

Although “dump the body” sounds like a movie line, that is about the exact amount of caring that I have about the remains of my earthly dwelling place. Cremate me and dump the body.

The wound is not healing.  It impressively went to a verified four centimeter depth (or lack of depth) on Tuesday, and was back to seven again today, Friday.  Regardless of how many times I ask “What else can I do?”, and get the answer, “You are doing it all”, I know there is a missing piece.

Something hidden needs to be healed.  Something else needs to be completed.  Where are the loose ends?  What bows need tying?  Completion.

The wound vac is off.  I am cordless and empowered!  The skin around the wound is dancing with joy (as it hated the wound vac and spent the entire time covered in rashy boils).  Today I can feel its joy.

After a few tears of exasperation, I pushed a bit of completion.  

Nyasha and Conrad legally witnessed my signature on Death with Dignity paperwork, that will likely be round filed because of my longevity.  I called and left a message for Julie that it’s in the mail.  Check.

And I booked a trip to Whidbey Island, another visit to the Earth Sanctuary and Langley, before my next wound packing appointment.  In checking whether Earth Sanctuary has full access during Covid 19, I made an amazing discovery, my final resting place.

Although “dump the body” sounds like a movie line, that is about the exact amount of caring that I have about the remains of my earthly dwelling place.  Cremate me and dump the body.  

Earth Sanctuary provides the perfect ground… and they will mix the ashes with appropriate soil, and either sculpt me in to the spiritual nature preserve, or accompany those of you who want to add me to the ambiance!  This is exciting.  Another big box CHECKED.