from Hunter Mohring

I grew up thinking there were two options for dealing with one’s remains: (1) a “traditional” funeral with embalming, casket, and monuments, or (2) the slightly more flexible cremation followed by dealing with the ashes.  Neither was particularly attractive, but those were the choices -- or so I thought until a few years ago.  Then in the mid-seventies donating some or all of one’s body to other people or science became relatively easy, but always tenuous.  After all, they might not want your body and there you’d be right back to the original two choices.

My parents’ stated choices were cremation, mostly because they really didn’t want the typical funeral popular at the time.  They didn’t seem to care what became of the ashes.  You’d think it was a “take out the trash” moment.  Like most children I unquestioningly adopted their opinions and went along -- although not happily -- expecting to be cremated and discarded with little or no fanfare or regard.

A little over a year ago a friend dropped by my work place and by asking two questions unlocked and opened a door I never knew was there.  Do you still own some land out near . . . ?  (Yes, why do you ask?)  Have you ever given any thought to a green burial cemetery? (Absolutely not.  I’ve never rubbed two brain cells together on the subject.  What is it?)

When we finished the brief conversation I was at least willing to think about it.  “Send me a few links.  I’ll think about it.” She did. I did.

Link by link, article by article, book by book, thought by thought, almost everything I thought I knew about what becomes of our remains based on the choices we do or don’t make fell away.

The short journey began as intellectual, went to the emotional, and as I learned of the underlying philosophy and details of natural burial, it became insight – a deep, penetrating flash.  Here! For the first time, here is something I deeply want!  This is congruent with my understanding of the cosmos and my place in it.  It allows me to live and die affirming my spiritual and environmental values.  Through and through, I want this for me and for all creation, and I want others to know of this option too.

I was energized beyond reason. I wrote experts, people who had opened natural burial cemeteries, and a highly recommended consultant.  In each case I explained that I was so filled with energy and drive that part of their job was to slow me down, point out the hard parts, talk me out of it.  Nothing they could say could lessen my desire or enthusiasm.  They introduced the drudge and the hard parts, but all they managed to do was slow me down, strengthen my resolve, and commit me to being deliberate and thorough as I go forward.

And here we are - fully licensed and providing our community with the option for a natural burial. 


In addition to being a natural burial
ground, The Meadow is a peaceful green space which is open to the community
year-round dawn to dusk for walking, meditating and creating. From time to time we may post notice of a workshop, event or program to be held at The Meadow.

CLICK HERE for printable brochure

Some sites about green burial

Reading recommended by Hunter Mohring:

Final Gifts: Understanding the
Special Awareness, Needs and
Communications of the Dying

Maggie Callahan and Patricia Kelly

Final Rights: Reclaiming the
American Way of Death

Josh Slocum and Lisa Carlson

Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to
a Natural Way of Burial

Mark Harris

The Mourner's Dance:
What We DO When Peopl Die

Katherine Ashenburg