The fog is in, though it is the kind that soon will dissipate. Warmth is predicted.
I pick up Galway Kinnell's book Strong is Your Hold and open to a poem called The Quick and the Dead. It is about the amazing recycling of a vole he caught in a trap and thrown out into the yard.
Kinnell ends the poem like this:
But when the human body
has been drained of its broths and filled
again with formaldehyde and salts
or unguents and aromatic oils, and pranked
up in in its holiday best and laid out
in a satin-lined airtight stainless-steel
coffin inside a leakproof concrete vault -
I know that if no fellow creatures
can force their way in to do the underdigging
and jiggling and earthing over and mating
and egg-laying and birthing forth, then for us
the most that can come to pass
will be a centuries-long withering down
to a gowpen of dead dust, and never
the crawling of new life out of the old,
which is what we have for eternity on earth.
- Galway Kinnell
When my father died in 1969, we proudly chose the best, and yes, the extra vault was essential to keep that odd, waxed body intact.
With my mother, the decision was easy, and we scattered her ashes in joy and ease. They both play now everywhere, but it is odd to realize that my father's waxed form may still be preserved in vault and coffin under the ground. We did not know then the isolation in which we placed that body. We wanted to preserve. Now, when I die, I want this collection of elements loaned to me to return quickly to the earth and change of form. I welcome the guide.
Jane calls and though I read that the weather at Squaw Valley is sunny and clear, she informs me that it is pouring rain. Hmmm!
I am blanketed in fog.