I am not a gravedigger but a gardener. My cemetery's plot is sprawling grass, a deep green grass, well fertilized with well-placed organic fertilizers, three inches of dried blood under all its infant trees, catalyzing wondrous growth and making this place of death a beautiful place of death. This is my place, and I take great pride in making it a place of life, in a way that overwhelms the sense of grief that litters the living bodies of its streaming visitors, takes over that sense and makes it wholesome.
This is not a shovel. It is a whisk that churns up the earth and plants bodies. It is the spark of an invisible circuit reaching for the hundredth time the beginning of its next round. I lower attractive and easily degradable caskets—laughingstocks of defiance against nature—slowly and with dignity but with tangible happiness into the earth. Over the next few decades, termites, roots, and water will penetrate the varnished wood and in measured steps dilapidate it. Once the walls are fallen, scavenger bugs, the maggots and the worms, will parade inside in throes and devour the decaying tissue of the once spunky and charismatic woman who met her untimely end on a mountain road one day. Eventually that tissue will be inside the bodies of thousands of bugs, who will then die themselves and fall likewise into the clutches of the earth. Those pieces of human will scatter then, carried by water and gravity, and by still more earth-swallowing vermiform creatures, and they will scatter again as fish swallow water and birds swallow earth-swallowing vermiform creatures, until the beautiful Rebecca Gold spans the length of seven states. And eventually, those little microscopic morsels of carbon will be in the aid of new growth—atoms will combine and attach, detach and reform, move like currents within the loam, and with no real finality culminate in a great new being of life.
And then my gardening will be complete.