Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Decay

A few days ago, I wrote about a little lamb who died in my arms. But I didn't finish the story.

After the lamb died, one of my fellow farmhands suggested we place its body in the empty corncrib and watch the decay process as a learning experience. Every morning, each of us would make a quiet, solo trip over to the corncrib to check on what was left of the little lamb. Flies quickly laid eggs and maggots quickly devoured the flesh. By the end of the week, a few tufts of soft white wool were still left around the raw bones.

Ever since that experience, I have been fairly certain that I want to be cremated. I know that being eaten by maggots is a natural process, the natural order of things, but somehow I have never truly come to terms with it.

Perhaps if I came to a place where I had more appreciation for the beauty of bacteria, that might help as well. Unlike out in the open air of the farm, my body is far less likely to encounter flies upon its demise.

Of course, I am very thankful for the bacteria in my gut that help me digest food and ensure that I absorb vitamin K and some of the B vitamins. And as a woman, I am certainly grateful to the acidophilus bacteria in yogurt that keep yeast flora at bay. In addition, new research suggests that lactobacillus bacteria may help fight the flu.

So I guess I could look at the inevitable decay of my body as a thanksgiving feast to the bacteria that make my life possible.

2 comments:

Jennynyc said...

I definitely want to be cremated!

Anonymous said...

Have just discovered your blog a day or two ago, prob'ly via some twit -- I mean twitterer. ;-)

Anyway, I love your image of "a thanksgiving feast to the bacteria that make my life possible." Not sure I can be quite that generous in reality, but love the attitude.

The whole lamb experience really speaks to the cycle of Life.

Thanks much for your blog!