Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Leslie. Her laying-in. CBE. Steve and Jamie Bernstein. Rebecca. Joann. Tara. Irene. Rabbi Jamie. Mark and Dennis. Good conversation last night. Prostate cancer. Liver cancer. Breast cancer. Aging. Stents. Psilocybin. DMT. Bufo Frogs. Mescaline. The 60’s.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Human composting

One brief shining: Ode thinks my work needs on occasion more juice the trail of droplets not so easy to follow as the short sometimes terse words of my main voice and he’s not wrong but this kind of sentence takes more more of what I’m not sure but more and I do not always have more just what I say and that’s that and I write on.


Leslie’s funeral in addition to the usual kaddish and eulogizing by the Rabbi and memorilization by family and friends had on the title of the service a laying-in ceremony which sounded to me like something for babies you know putting one in the crib for the first time or beside the mother for nursing. Obviously not it. So what.

After the service had concluded and Leslie’s wonderful life had brought smiles and tears and laughter the two young attendants from Feldman’s mortuary went over to the pine box that held Leslie’s body and took off the top. Inside Leslie had a covering of silk on which those at the service poured wood chips and compost. The laying-in. Human composting.

Judy Sherman died of ovarian cancer earlier this year. She chose aquamation and had the liquid result poured around a special tree at Seven Stones Cemetery. Body disposal practices have begun to change and change dramatically. Two years ago I did what Kate wanted and had her body cremated. I’ll choose one of these alternatives. Not sure which. Research. The thing they have in common is less to no pollution.

I found the laying-in ceremony at the same time thoughtful and affecting. Given a paper cup we all dug around in sacks of the wood chips and compost for enough material to fill the cup. Moving to the Pine box we chose where we wanted to distribute the material. I chose what I imagined was her head. Each in turn passed the cup to the next person in line.

Instead of dust to dust which has an evanescence about it this felt more like earth to earth, a return to the Mother in the way of all animals and plants. It was typical Leslie. A pioneer and in a way that had a certain political edge but a gentle one.

I dressed up. Sport coat. Gray slacks. Blue shirt. Silk tie. Panama hat. First time in nine years. I knew Leslie and wanted to respect her life. Still felt weird. More like costuming. I remarked to Irene, the dream lady, that it came from a past life.


Dennis and Mark came last night around five. We talked about drugs and art and Mark’s road trip. The upcoming conference in Aspen. I’ll buy them breakfast this morning and send them on their to Paonia where both Dennis and his brother Terence are from. Also where the High Country News is published.

Good to have Mark here in the flesh. It’s been a while. Dennis is an unassuming guy, bright and like the rest of us hearing aided and surgically restored. In his case six stents thanks to a recent stint in the hospital.

Massage later this morning, then on to Mussar.