Tag Archives: poem

Out of the Draft Box, Part 4: Haiku Today 2015.10.23 —

autumn leaves
(Image credit: Phoenix Wolf-Ray)

falling leaves
wash the ground with death
in color —
unseasonable
as it’s been lately


Here it is, the last post in my draft box. These drafts were nice jump-starts to posts, having a haiku to roll around in my mind while I’m writing out whatever happens to be streaming from my consciousness at the moment. Though I can’t say what I was thinking at the exact moment that I was writing this tanka, I do know that at the time I was starting to figure out that manufacturing was going to eventually do me in.

And by that, I mean to say that I had recognized my folly in thinking that I would ever see any kind of relief from the soul-crushing work schedule I had been subject to whilst working at the Bobcat plant here in Bismarck. This plant had shut down in 2008, just a few months after I relocated here from Detroit, and at the time it was a Union shop. I was told my only way in was to know someone and at the time I really didn’t know anyone. So when the plant re-opened quietly under subcontracted management (Bobcat’s way of snuffing out organized labor, I suppose) I was able to slip in and almost instantly find more gainful employment than what I’d been doing in the interim; but they worked the hell out of us.

When I first started, they had just set up the fab shop. We had some brake presses, a laser, a plasma cutter, a saw, a lathe, and a couple of vertical machine centers. They had us working twelve hours a day, five days a week, and ten hours on Saturday, making parts to feed the weld lines. And for years, they told us they’d cut back hours when we caught up, but we never really caught up. We clamored for years for pay increases that were promised and never delivered.

So at the time I wrote this tanka I was almost three and a half years in, and thinking that one day I was going to just jump into my lathe and let the machine pulverize me.

Of course I wouldn’t do anything like that; but I’m sure we understand that when things get dark, the imagination goes wild.

This is the darkness that pulled me away from writing. I turned to escapist routes to keep me from getting dragged down. I played a lot of video games, I watched a lot of TV, knit a lot of hats, and tried to think hard about what I was doing.

I realized at the time that my folly was in falling to the sunk-cost fallacy of my facile choice to be a fabricator. And it took me another year and a half to feel comfortable enough to extract myself from the situation.

So the question is, where does this particular folly end?

How do I know I’m not making the same mistake right now?

I probably am, and now I wonder whether my folly was in thinking that it was my career choice that was sucking all the joy out of life.

More likely, it was my choice of employer; could I be repeating that folly even now — just going from one disaster to the next? What comes after this, then?

(Image credit: suRANTo dwi saputra, CC0 1.0)

Out of the draft box, Part 3: Haiku Today 2015.10.24 —

Ironclad
(Image credit: Rob Ross [that’s me!])

Ironclad —
a pact between waters
of Earth and sky


The gray autumn sky chills. It’s full of reminders of things we have yet to do –– things left undone. It’s packed with guilt and frustration; it hangs around like a guest who’s worn out their welcome, chilling us to the bone. Consuming the warmth of summer as quickly as it came. It hangs heavy on my heart and weighs on my mind.

The gray autumn sky comforts -– it’s a looming alarm that says, “time’s up, buddy. Whatever you had planned, you may as well shelve it. You’ll have plenty of time to make it even better than you had hoped. So put on a pot of coffee, some slippers, and your hoodie. Play some video games. Dig in, stay warm. It’s not the end of the world, or else I would not be here.”


Here I am again, taking stock of what’s left in my draft box. Just one more after this, and I’m going to have to work that much harder to turn the purse of my mind inside out; and it may look, for all I know, like a TeeTurtle with the same question mark and dubious smile on both sides.

My instincts tell me that I still have much to tell and stories to unfold, I just have to get after them. And even when life and work and all things seem like a huge cluster . . . bomb, I intend to find the time to make it happen. After all, I have been known to be a time thief. 😉 The time is coming for me to take stock of all that is overwhelming in my life — for it’s been so good for so long that the load is getting ponderous.

I remember a time when life flowed more quickly. Moving here, moving there. Not having the kind of discretionary funds to do much more than live day-to-day and cobble together my hobbies as cheaply as possible. Things were simpler, and less of a hassle. Now I take stock and everything I see looks like something all-too-neglected . . . every skein of yarn I thought I was going to turn into a pair of socks or whatever; every exercise widget and gadget that’s rarely used in my fitness regimen, such as it is. Books. I haven’t read a book in forever, it feels like — and yet I still own quite a few of them, some of which will only be taken from me when I am dead. Clothes that no longer fit. Clothes that I’ve never really worn.

I’ve been ramping up to this: building up the temerity necessary to start going through and whittling it all down — mercilessly working to get things down to a manageable level. I feel like it would be great if I could take time off from work to do this, but unfortunately that is not possible at this time because . . . well, COVID.

So there’s the elephant in the room that I didn’t want to bring up, because it’s a little too on-the-nose. But rather than hide out at home or find new ways to make money to avoid contact with the public, I live life boldly by serving my community in a capacity that often feels underappreciated. I personally feel underappreciated by those above me in the chain of command, and yet I do this not because I feel a need to be appreciated; indeed, if I ever had this particular need I was disabused of it a long, long time ago. But thanks to COVID and the omicron variant now making its rounds through our facility I have all this vacation time saved up that I am unable to use.

So here I am, putting all my plans on the shelf as staff shortages rise once more. Delaying the inevitable, but not for much longer. I’m going to clear out the clutter and find myself somewhere therein, turning the gray skies blue once again.

Image credit: U.S. Army Europe, CC PDM 1.0

“Strap on those boots, soldier.”

Out of the draft box, part 2: Haiku Today 2015.11.17 —

(Image credit: Eric Huybrechts)

fading ages,
protruding via
tenuous
pockets of space-time
grown cool . . . bitter . . . thin.


January 3, 2022

This is an easy one to knock out. A haiku which felt unfinished, and no longer relevant today. But I breathed some extra room into it — made it tanka — and felt the icy ping of cold air, as I finished it. The original text I’d composed for this photo went:

Faded ages,
protruding
through holes in time

Of course, at the time this was written as a draft and I meant to come back to it. For six or seven years I’ve meant to come back to all of this in some functional way as I struggled in my manufacturing job for fair treatment by my employer. Fair for me, fair for my coworkers, some of whom I still feel don’t make enough even though I haven’t worked the plant since September of 2017. I’ve meant to return to all of this as I worked retail in the interim, as a hardware department floor associate at Menards — as I transitioned to a career in the law enforcement sector, serving my community for real this time.

And the Interwebs and all my readers have been so patient all this time. I’ve had things to resolve, and I’m not even sure I’m all the way through this process as I still deal with some of the hangups I’ve collected throughout my life. Yet here I am, presuming that I am ready to insinuate myself into the blogosphere once more . . .

Is this really a new dawn, or just a waft of scant inspiration? There have been some false starts, of course. It reminds me of quitting cigarette smoking, only in reverse — I had to try several times before I could quit permanently. And yet . . . there have been relapses. So is anything really permanent?

All this to say, I now have this design to pick up my writing once more, but I know I can’t go back to what I was doing before. That’s why I’m cleaning out my draft box. I need to figure out a new direction, or at least create a new plan if I want to go long-term again. I don’t think I will ever say goodnight to this blog, though I’ve considered it before; but I’d love to find a new groove and get back to writing.

I’d love to write more flash fiction for you! 🙂 🙂 🙂

What I wouldn’t do for some bargain-basement inspiration right now . . . I’m so thirsty I just know I would soak it all up like a sponge, and I feel like once I get some momentum I should be able to maintain. I’d build new suburbs of sweet script, neighborhoods of knack, communities of composition — cul-de-sacs of content! And I’d erect it all, block by block right here on WordPress. I can surround and obfuscate those cryptic, monochrome bones with my inspiration. . . .

Then I can forget that they’re still there, and there they will always be.

And in other news, in case we need to know: robssurfreport.com is back.

Out of the draft box, part 1: Haiku Today 2016.04.20 —

(Photo by Mahir Uysal, CC0 1.0)

A chill mist
pervades this frigid heart
of battered stone


Sometimes it feels like life has a habit of pulling me along with a string, moving me one way or another along this linear direction. Occasionally I will go, “I’m going to try this, and then before I know it I’m in so deep I’ve dropped everything else and forgotten where it is I came from, like it never mattered. 

. . . or maybe I can be obsessive — maybe that’s the more accurate way to put it; and to find myself in a reclusive, self-interested fog seems to always be the primary clue that I’ve gone way too far from where I’d like to be. 

A fog is just a cloud of particles that move in this lazy way; they hang around with no real intention, and when moving they tend to slink and creep, not having the coherence to withstand the slightest breeze. That dearth of energetic motion promotes further energy losses; by which I mean that it has this tendency to bleed over into the soul of one enveloped within that chill fog — a vampiric effect that “puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills . . . ” than to change.

Emerging from a fog of frustration, of self-enmity and frivolity, is like coming out into the first warm day of Spring. It’s not the doom of gloomy days, but could be herald of what’s to come if I can stay the course and keep a solid heading. 

After all, who knows what adventure waits around the corner?


January 02, 2022

Holy smokes, that was almost six years ago. I pulled this one out of the draft box and generously edited for language, trying to keep the content while trying to not leave too much cheese behind.

My goal here is to dig all four drafts out of my draft box and start anew. I know my last post was heavy, and I won’t apologize.

It needed to be.

Things have eased up a little bit in the interim, but those challenges remain and are often exacerbated by the most imaginary slights. Attempting to feel supported and appreciated in a milieu where appreciation is rare and support should be a call away but sometimes feels remarkably extinct is challenging, and may require some self-adjustment. After all, I may be part of the problem. I can admit that.

It’s a new year now, and while it might sound like a cliché to say it’s a time for new beginnings, I can’t think of a better time than now to figure out how to rediscover the mental headspace I inhabited back when I was posting regularly. A new beginning, this far down the line. After all, you can go bankrupt what . . . every seven years? What’s the statute of limitations on rekindling the light of optimism, of chucking all the emotional debt and starting over from scratch? And regardless of the (largely subjective) answer, how is that even accomplished?

I intend to figure that out. I will clear out this negative clutter, and find the dusty corners. I’ll sweep them out and set lamps to light them. I probably can’t commit to writing here daily, but I should probably do it a lot more. We’ll see how that goes.

I am the medicine man. I will make the medicine if I have to sing, dance, chant, and call to the heavens to make it happen. I don’t have a grass skirt but I do have some fine kilts. Maybe I’ll have to swap the tropical beaches for some snowbanks. Combat boots instead of bare feet.

I know, it still sounds amazing. 🙂

(Image by Frank Schulenburg, CC0 1.0)

Blowing Dust

Small comfort,
pithy post-nailed note:
I want you here”
,
scrawled in fading ink
on timeworn paper.

(Image credit: στρατός. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.)

There are days, and then . . . there are days. It seems like there’s been a lot of those days lately, and with the holiday season in full swing there’s the added stress of things to do, people to see, dealing with shopping for people . . . things can get just a tad overwhelming.

And is it me, or are people getting harder to shop for anymore?

Lately I’ve been feeling a little touched out by the constant activity. Not to mention I’m falling behind on fitness. I’ve got a whole bunch of things I’d like to be working on but I have no time for. My guitars are dusty and lonely. I need to just take some time off to decompress but we’re too short-staffed at work to allow for it and the first available days off are out in February, so . . . screw me, I guess! The only way to get time off is to be sick, and I’m famous for not getting sick. 200 hours of sick leave: pointless. Over eighty hours of vacation time: unusable.

And then there’s the real enigma: how I can do my very best at my job, improve on practically everything I do, pull off some great work and train great people on how to do our jobs well, and get trashed on my yearly performance evaluation by — apparently — the only person whose opinion matters; based on situations and metrics that either can’t or won’t ever be corroborated; to the confusion of the other supervisor who had to read the eval to me, who later told me that he tried to back me up but . . . well, we both know how that goes with the boss. Once something’s on paper, boy it is done! There’s no defense, there’s no reasonable explanation, and there’s no appeal that’s going to make that steaming, smelly pile of contrivances go away.

"starr-100218-2532-Dianella_sandwicensis-habitat_with_helicopter_landing_and_blowing_dust-Helu_West_Maui-Maui" by Starr Environmental is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I suppose I’m fortunate that this has no other negative effect on me other than weighing heavily on me; in order to keep this career I have to just accept my fate and admit that I will never have any chance at success so long as I am assigned to this shift. I’d have a better chance making it as a helicopter pilot. Good news is, my boss’ boss wants me here so I guess . . . that makes it better?

Yep. I guess I have to keep that bit close to heart, to keep me warm during our 30 days of nights.

(Image credit: Starr Environmental. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

I had to get that off my chest, anyway; I apologize if it’s a real downer. There’s certain “morbid” statistics associated with careers in law enforcement, and though I never intend to be a statistic, I’m starting to see how one gets behind that curtain. This job attracts certain types of people, and some of them should not be given power over others. For my part, I just want to help people — legitimately, help them. I think I do that well but I’ll never win any awards doing it and I’m fine with that. Just don’t micromanage me, nitpick me, poke or prod me with baseless accusations and falsified accounts of behavior that no one else can verify. Don’t lie on me and then laugh it off like it’s the end of a Scooby-Doo episode. That shit burns.

Forget about the holidays. The rhetoric about the time of year, how we should be all happy and nice and forgive people their trespasses, all that noise; make it a way of life. Those whom you have responsibility over, make sure you support them and validate their work. Don’t forget that they’re human beings. Don’t squash them because you think it makes you look good, like you’re doing your job when you’re letting others get away with murder. You know who’s going through a lot right now? Everybody. Don’t be a dick.

That’s my PSA; I sincerely hope you enjoy the remainder of 2021, in case I don’t get a chance to write again this year.

*This post was brought to you by Tanka, where Haiku is a lesser included offence

Not just another Tanka Tuesday

Have you ever found yourself clearing out a craft space that has long sat unusued, only to discover a finished product that never saw the light of day?

I said the other day I’d be working my way through the handful of drafts in my draft folder. Here’s one that I found today, and it was fully written. Here it is, with zero changes. Originally written on December 20, 2016, this post dates from about a year after the lights started going out on my original spate of blogging . . . about three years solid, and five years since post one (seriously, I just scrolled through all of it; Holy Hannah Banana, I have a ton of material!) Today this blog is nearly eleven years old and I have some cobwebs to clean out, but as it turns out, I also have something left over to offer — a little look into the mood that pulled me off the page for so long . . . .

room by room
turning off the lights
unsure as to why
I get the impression
it’s time to withdraw


I’m pretty sure I’ve been islanding. I’m almost certain that it’s not entirely my fault — I blame some of it on climate change. Things aren’t the way they used to be, and I can’t tell whether that’s because I’m always either resisting or having trouble keeping up, or whether it’s simply because I am no longer a kid, and I get that now. 

Every year the ocean levels are rising, and the shores of my island become smaller. I’m being forced inward. 

Or maybe it’s supposed to be like this. As the drum beats time marches on, and as we disconnect from the Matrix of old social paradigms the tubes and wires connecting us to them pop off, leaving us cold and alone in our very own pod, surrounded by a sea of machines and trite little tchotchkes, a blip of life in a Universe drowned in invisible data.

But I can’t believe that; it’s fatalistic. It’s dark, I know — and I promise that it won’t always be this way. But sometimes to find treasure you have to be willing to dig through a mountain of trash, decaying remnants of old life, mouldering bones and offal. It’s a dirty job for sure, but someone ought to do it. 

I’ve had the good fortune to be a WordPress blogger for years, even in spite of long absences, and this place has helped shape who I am. Writing gives us an outlet and a place to put our thoughts and ideas in order. To put ourselves in order. And I must write more, or risk losing myself in the shuffle. And I guess that means getting some of this stuff off of my chest and working it out. 

I find it ironic that I use this space to talk about how I see technology as an increasingly efficient disabler of the natural social construct, leaving unfulfilled more and more the visceral call to community that built the world that made WordPress possible. 

Maybe it’s evolution, or maybe someday it will turn out that my job was to document the fall of humanity. If so, then I might be woefully behind as outsiders have already set up shop within our borders. Or maybe I’m just looking for something other than myself to blame. 

This is me, digging. 

Haiku Today 2016.07.04 —

DSC02887
(Image credit: Lyn Gateley)

 freedom rings
promises of life
autonomous

 


 

So here we are again: the 4th of July.

I’m starting to find that the older I get, the more I question the validity of the holidays we gather around. If you’ve been around you might be well aware that every holiday has its holdouts.

Its detractors.

Its naysayers. 

It’s hard to discuss a holiday without at least cracking open thought-boxes filled with hypocrisies and ironies that we pick up regarding these things as we ride out life — the unspeakable-in-polite-company stuff that rains on the parade. They’re easy to suppress, but hard not to think about.

Autonomy is a good one for Independence Day. It is, after all, about freedom . . . of a sort. And it’s an election year no less.

Cha-ching, jackpot.

I don’t talk politics if I can avoid it, except with Mme. Ross. And co-workers, when I’m sure it’s not going to be an issue. I hate it when others bring it up and say something that either makes them look bad or something that I disagree with. Usually that’s something that happens concurrently. So I’m not talking politics here either, but it seems that down the road we get to vote. 

If you believe in that kind of thing. Autonomy for the win!!

. . . right?

You know what I can get behind, though? Running. I can get behind running. This morning I took up my second ever race, and my first in a few years — a non-competitive 5k walk/run to help the Bismarck Cancer Center Foundation. That’s a little ironic in a way, because they focus on chemo and radiation therapies, which I sincerely hope can eventually become a thing of the past. But I figure, the human race sometimes makes baby steps instead of huge strides. It probably depends on who’s footing the bill, and I doubt that 600 runners are going to crack the cancer problem, know what I mean?

Man, I’ve been down so long — cue the B. B. King music here — I’ve been down so long, because of this injury to my feet last Spring. And while it really didn’t start there, I have to wonder why I ever had this crazy idea I could try to get into parkour in the first place. There’s no gyms, no trainers, no clubs around here to speak of where I could train. But we have to start somewhere, right? And I think this is where my running got off track.

To me, running is a different kind of freedom. You can take things and run with them, and that includes yourself. Then sometimes we stop to breathe, reflect, and we figure we might stick around for a little bit before continuing on. Before we know it, we’re stuck in the mud with a whole new set of habits, and getting back on that track well might be a lot harder that we originally reckoned. Sometimes we hit a downward trend long before we see it as such, and that’s unfortunate — but not impossible to reverse.

So after changing my diet and exercise regime to try and get myself to the point where I could do pull-ups, I found myself not only failing to make progress, but trending toward both lower levels of fitness and toward weight gain. Double negative. Then I step hard on a rock with one foot, the same day that I’m pretty sure I overtrained both my Achilles’, and failed to recognize the need for anti-inflammatory medication despite the fact that I hobbled for weeks.

It’s been kind of a hard aspect of the past year, not to mention the insult of a (literally) shrinking wardrobe and building on the failure to train for pull-ups, which I think is just ridiculous. I can push a 1,016 pound sheet of half-inch-thick steel through a shear, yet I couldn’t pull up 170 to 230 pounds from a dead hang.

Life continues to be a head-scratcher, even when we thing we’ve gotten most of it figured out. But that’s why I can get behind running. It’s a simple thing that most people are born to be able to do. It helps keep my head in the game. It guides me toward healthy priorities. Most of all, I think it’s presenting me a reason to look forward to holidays because it turns out that there are races in town that are organized around major holidays: the Turkey Trot, the Santa Run, Ribfest . . . 

Now I can definitely get behind that. That’s legit.


Phillipi
(Image credit: Leonora (Ellie) Enking)

 worlds breathe,
civilizations
find their place —
there’s no use fighting
what always passes.

 


Need an idea? check out today’s Daily Post prompt.

Header image by Felix (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Musical Monday — Looking Out My Back Door

Looking Out My Back Door
by Surfer Rob

Hey
It’s me again
Your little talking friend
From the planet in your head
I’d
Like to propose a toast
To the humble host
Of all the crazy shit
That’s been running through my yard

It’s been a while
since we’ve felt like this
a lot of lingering love
from a literary kiss
It’s got me thinking
and I’m thirsty for more
of singing “doo doo doo”
looking out my back door

Hey
is that a flying car?
maybe you’ve gone too far
or maybe it doesn’t matter
It’s
not a DeLorean
Maybe I’ll get me one
when I’m making fat checks
writing for TV
there’s killer robots there
they’re flying through the air
and mopping up rebel meatbags
And
they’re not the only ones
’cause blotting out the sun
is an all-consuming ooze
made from future processed foods!
I know it’s crazy but just give it time
while purple plant people plot
to plunder your mind,
until they’re Roundup Ready
and we’re runnin’ to shore
a-singin “doo doo doo”
looking out my back door

(cue the face melting guitar solo)

(outro riff with some tribal tom beats)

singing “doo doo doo”
looking out my back door
 


 
There you go. I wrote you a song, bringing back the nostalgia of 90’s alternative pop (if you hear it the way I do, something akin to Jimmy Eat World) with a little nod to Creedence.
 
Happy Monday!

Stuck for an idea? Try today’s Daily Post prompt.

Haiku Today 2015.10.19 —

One Love
(Image credit: Massmo Relsig)

we build dreams —
fading river docks
spurning sleep

 


Have you ever found yourself wondering what Merlyn’s deal was?

Like, here’s this guy — but not just any guy — one of the last few-and-far-between holdouts  of the eld: the ancient power and science being driven out of the world by the rampant colonization of the pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons. 

Being driven out, and yet being driven by the hand of destiny to give one of them the power to civilize the known world. To finish the job once and for all. 

But things never go exactly as planned, and this was no exception. In the end, the efforts made by Merlyn Ambrosius in the interest of preserving the scant remains of the Celtic pagan tradition faded into history, and the power of a civilized Western Europe in the second millennium is now an undeniable fact. 

Yet Merlyn must have known this would happen, because there always seems to be this intimation that he had a sense of the future — visions, in fact, of things to come. . . strange visions indeed. So did he do his best to change the inevitable future, or was he helping push the world away from its mystic origins?

Doubtless Merlyn knew what lay behind the backdrop of ordinary life, and what would be the ultimate fate of a person who faded from this world, generally speaking. 

This magic was the old science, and if I was transformed into a mystical being with magic powers, I’d lift up that veil and have a peek at what lay beneath. . . 

. . . and the Universe says, “no spoilers, Surfer Rob!”

Because we perpetually act out this play — this little bit of theatre, while underneath the skin of consciousness, within each of us lies the eternal image of the divine Creator; because before and after there is only sleep, and in crossing over we regain the right to know what is known out there.

But as much as I like surprises, if I had the power I would pull back the shroud, reveal the Universe’s beating heart, and take in what I could; for how could I hope to understand the breadth of what is to be seen there? Could we really think that Merlyn knew what he was seeing in his visions of the future? Like Nostradamus, he likely only understood what the lens of experience allowed, and the rest . . .

naked curiosity. Riddles. 

Pure Discovery.


 

Do You Believe in Magic?  | The Daily Post

Haiku Today 2015.10.15 —

the cemetery
(Image credit: Kai Lehmann)

the cycle stalled —
remains to be seen
on littered ground

 


I think cemeteries are cool. Often the ones we visit for one reason or another have well-manicured lawns, roads, and walks. Those are okay, but the older cemeteries have a lot of flair that the modern ones don’t even attempt to replicate; and maybe there’s a reason for that.

Perhaps we — the modern society — are just hanging on to a tradition that no longer inspires us.

Humans have been preserving their dead for thousands of years. Mummification — examples of which have been found in ancient cultures from South America, Africa, and Asia — did not long pre-date embalming, though. Egypt had the most well-developed embalming practices of the known ancient world, where over five thousand years ago you could have met priests whose job it was to keep the body intact and awaiting the return of its soul.

But today, I wonder why we persist with what is obviously a parasitic practice performed upon the planet.

The line is that modern chemical embalming took off during the Civil War, when Dr. Thomas Holmes was commissioned by the Union Army to preserve the bodies of soldiers who had died far from home so they wouldn’t arrive at their doorstep all gross and corpsified. The truth is that experiments with the practice pre-dates this by a few centuries. We experimented with various alcohols, essential oils, and spices. After Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar, just about fifty years before the start of the Civil War, he was preserved in brandy, wine, myrrh, and camphor. 

Dr. Holmes, however, preferred arsenic. 

After these human pickles arrived they’d be dropped in a pine box which would be dropped in a hole in the ground. Often they were buried in proximity to their comrades. Eventually the boxes rotted away, and the earth came rushing in. The bodies, for all the efforts of the good doctor, gave way too. After all, you can’t resist the forces of nature forever.

And in gaining access to those raw materials, the soil was ambushed by the toxic substance that permeated the tissues therein. Arsenic leached into the ground, and from there into the water supplies.

Not to mention it’s hard to prove poisoning by arsenic once a body has been embalmed. 

So nowadays, the use of less toxic chemicals is standard practice (less toxic, but not non-toxic.) We bury our dead at great expense, considering the cost of the casket and the burial vault, which is often required by a cemetery. The vault is just another box, but it keeps the ground nice and flat.

So this raises the question in my mind, do we harm the planet more as we live, or when we are unnaturally interred post-mortem?

New cemeteries are boring; I’m going to be honest about that. Old cemeteries are where it’s at. So instead of banging at the same old drum of embalming and interment into a terrestrial storage locker, why aren’t we pursuing wholesale practices that help return us to the ground in a more natural fashion?

There’s cremation, which was a good first step. But burning someone creates carbon emissions and the possiblity of mercury emissions from tooth fillings. Alternatives to that include alkaline hydrolysis, which renders the soft tissues to an inert liquid; natural burial, which allows the body to break down naturally in the soil; and promession, in which the body is flash-frozen, pulverized, freeze-dried, sifted for metals (tooth fillings and implants,) and then buried in a biodegradable casket, which allows for full breakdown in less than a year.

I like that idea. Plant me in the ground with a tree on top. Mme. Ross wants to be turned into a tree too; we can be planted side-by-side, so that we can cross-pollinate for as long as those trees stand.

At the end of the post, I just want to go back to where I came from when I’m all done. Let the living have the Earth.