Via an e-mail from an anonymous reader, I became aware of an outfit called Capsula Mundi. They explain their mission as follows.
Capsula Mundi is a cultural and broad-based project, which envisions a different approach to the way we think about death. It's an egg-shaped pod, an ancient and perfect form, made of biodegradable material, where our departed loved ones are placed for burial. Ashes will be held in small egg-shaped biodegradable urns while bodies will be laid down in a fetal position in larger pods. The Capsula will then be buried as a seed in the earth. A tree, chosen in life by the deceased, will be planted on top of it and serve as a memorial for the departed and as a legacy for posterity and the future of our planet. Family and friends will continue to care for the tree as it grows.
. . .
Cemeteries will acquire a new look: no more cold grey tombstones but living trees creating a forest, a holy forest. A place with a sentimental value, where families can stroll with kids and teach them about different trees. Let’s plant a tree for each of us and cemeteries will become forests!
There's more at the link. I understand there are other companies offering a similar service. Most countries allow burial of ashes ("cremains") in such pods at present, but apparently few allow the burial of bodies in larger pods. I daresay that'll change over time.
This piqued my imagination. Never mind the deceased choosing their tree before they die - what if we could vote for the tree that best symbolizes or represents them? They might choose something that reflected their view of themselves, but those who knew them might have other ideas. The possibilities are endless.
- A yew for those who spread poisonous gossip about others (the entire tree is poisonous if consumed);
- A baobab (commonly known in Africa as "the upside-down tree") for those whose lives were never settled, always topsy-turvy;
- Someone generally regarded as a pest might be remembered by a plant with a similar reputation - a kudzu vine, perhaps?
- Someone who irritated everybody might deserve to be memorialized by poison ivy.
- When it comes to politicians, "community organizers" and the like, let the electorate vote on what plant should represent them. Democracy in action!
I think this has real potential - for entertainment, if nothing else! Dear readers, I leave it up to you to name a public figure or figures, and suggest which tree or plant should memorialize them when the time comes. Let us know your suggestions in Comments. Give your
creativity ingenuity malice free rein!