Snuff It #4
by Rev. Chris Korda
Make yourself as comfortable as possible. Okay, now close your eyes,
relax, and try to imagine yourself dying. It's bound to happen eventually,
right? So try to imagine yourself dying. It could be suddenly or gradually,
by chance or by design, far in the future, or tomorrow, but imagine yourself
passing into the twilight world between life and death. Your body is letting
go, growing heavy, the life force is passing out of it, and finally your
body is completely, irrevocably, dead. Now there's a ceremony, a wake, and
your friends and family are gathered around your body, expressing their love
for you, honoring you, wishing you well. Meanwhile, your detailed instructions
for the disposal of your body have mysteriously disappeared, and so, due
to circumstances beyond anyone's control, your body is buried, naked, without
casket or shroud, in the forest.
Time is passing. Your body is decomposing, rotting, breaking down into
the simple substances that sustain organic life. The worms and beetles are
chewing, burrowing into you, digesting you, I know it's creepy, but don't
worry; you can't feel it. They're just playing their role, doing what they
do best: helping the Earth recycle you. After a lifetime of eating, consuming
the riches of the Earth, now the Earth is eating you. You're part of the food
chain after all, because while your body's nutrients are slowly dissolving
into the soil, they're being absorbed by the roots of a tree.
Now try to imagine that nameless part of yourself that survives every stage
of death. Beyond your ego, beyond your consciousness; your highest self,
your spirit. Try to imagine that while your body is composting, feeding
the tree's roots, your spirit is also passing into the tree. And slowly,
very slowly, you begin to have sensation again. New, unfamiliar sensation.
Where your feet used to be, you have roots that sink deep into the warm,
moist Earth. And where your poor, aching spine used to be, you have a thick
trunk, flexible but incredibly strong, and covered with bark instead of skin.
And instead of arms and a head, you have a profusion of branches, ending
in thousands of delicate twigs instead of fingers. And your twigs are thrust
out in every direction, towards the heavens, towards the sun, and instead
of hair, they're covered with tender, green leaves.
Feel the warm sun beating down on your leaves. Breathe. Breathe with your
leaves. In...out. In...out. Your leaves are a million tiny lungs. Feel
how they ripple in the breeze. Your branches are swaying, gently swaying,
back and forth, back and forth, and the sap is running up and down your trunk,
carrying nutrients from the soil up to the branches and leaves. Birds are
resting on you, and insects scurry around on your bark, but they move so
fast you barely notice them. Time has slowed down for you. You're not going
Day becomes twilight, and then night. The stars come out, and the moon rises.
Feel the other trees, all around you. You're one tree, among many other
trees, in the forest. Hear the sound of the forest. Animals, birds, insects,
singing the song of the Earth. You're singing too, with a deep, slow sound,
all the trees singing together. Mist creeps along the ground, and the stars
fade, as dawn approaches. The song is louder now, and your leaves are wet
with dew. The sun creeps over the horizon, and into the sky.
Days pass. Weeks pass, and the air gets colder. Your leaves are dry and
brittle, and the wind blows them away. Now the ground is hard, and ice covers
everything. Your sap thickens, the snow lies heavy on your branches, and
the forest is still. In the stillness of winter, all along your twigs and
branches, tiny buds are forming, under the ice.
As the years pass, you grow bigger, and bigger still. Your roots crack
open boulders, birds make nests in your branches, and animals hide in the
caverns of your trunk. Beneath your roots, the flesh of your old body is
gone, and even the bones crumble, but your spirit lives on.
Sometimes when I watch TV, I stop being myself, and oh, I'm a star of a
series, or, or, I have my own talk show, or I'm on the news, getting out of
a limo, going some place important. All I ever have to do is be famous!
People watch me, and they love me, and I never, never grow old, and I never
-John Carpenter's "They Live"
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