The Burying Place

Lisa M. Lipsett

Now we will let the blood of our mother sink into this earth. This is what we will do with our grieving. We will cover her wounds with mud. We will tear leaves and branches from the trees and together pile them over her body. The sky will no longer see her fallen thus. We will pull grass up by the roots. We will cover her. Thus as we do this we know her body will melt away.

Susan Griffin, 1978; pg. 219.

"So dear grandmothers, take good care of me. Keep me safe and warm. Keep me nourished, break me down slowly and reform me into a being who nourishes others. Smooth my rough edges with warm worm bites and scratchy centipede toes. Caress me into a smooth ball of malleable clay. Help me to play my day away and breathe fully in my dark daring nights"

I buried her today. I was called by the "man-made" pile of sand and rock, a unique place in this landscape of moss, lichen, wintergreen and long sharp grey rocks. I was drawn to the disturbance of it all, the signpost of change, of destruction, of releasing to the pull of the earth's plan. I moved closer to this place and envisioned a cairn, a carefully arranged monument to some loved soul, a place where the grandmothers gathered to mourn their dead, to re-member, to re-kindle, to re-joice in the flow and cycle of it all. I moved closer still and discovered the mount, the pile of round stones and sand, to be what remained of the rootings of a large pine tree. A tree that hasnít stood tall for a very long time, a tree who has been released to horizontal so long that only its form remains clothed in a tunic of lush green moss. I caressed the moss with my toes and sat on the upraised roots. I often sit on uprootedness, on air born, webbed root chaos. I enjoy the height, I enjoy the contact, the view roots afford over the earthy horizon, between the trees. I sat on these roots, this sand and rock for only an instant before I started digging in the humus that surrounded the scene. I dug deep, I dug round and created a small nest with solid nurturing sides. A nest whose containing will hold me, hold my hand, be a safe place for all time.

I began to place small sticks around the nest, to arrange a meshing of sorts that contained it evermore permanently. I created a home, a net, a location, a nurturing place, a place to re-member, a sacred moment. At that instant I remembered the wood carving I had done by the fire three days previous.

It was a totem-like carving done out of rosy red bark. I carved eyes, a solid nose, a stern sharp edged mouth and strong cheeks. I carved the little girl who got me through it all, the trooper who was able to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The careful, sensitive defender of my soulís, my caring heart, my loveís place. I kissed her lips and carefully placed her in the nest. I chose moss for her blankets and I gave her two protective mossy layers. I placed two pine cones over her, some lichen and I chose a leaf. I split it in half and created a yin/yang smile. I cried, I buried, I nurtured, I released, I created memories, I remember and now I rejoice.

"I feel the tickling toes of the centipedes as they explore, traverse and slowly crumble my terrain. I am whole like this and in pieces. Paths join, criss-cross, and form a net that both ensnares and contains me. Whatever will become of me?"

The answer came immediately . . .

You are stronger than the chomping of the fly larvae or
    the scraping of the centipedes and sucking worms
You exist beyond them yet with them
You will melt down into a fecund ooze and then emerge
Golden bright, like a new dawn
Willingly plant your seed
Feel the warmth of the soil soul nourish your body
Your casing will soften in all this wetness
Your roots will push down, deep down to a place of life long sustenance
Then the bursting forth will begin

Softening is like shedding a skin
Releasing a worn protective coating
Pull it back and off
Release it, wiggle in and out and around
Pulled away from you it will be
And you will be reduced to tears
Tears in the fabric of the old
Open wide your heart so bold
Relax, breathe, bear down
Embrace, reprieve, resound
Careful, campy containment
Relieves from over arrangement
Love the detainment
And feel the new life kick free

Old things wither
New things grow
Happenstance shiver
Melding know

References cited:

Griffin, S. (1978). Women and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her. New York: Harper & Row.

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