Funeral options involving trees

  • Thursday, September 5, 2013

I received an interesting e-mail from my friend Craig, who has inspired several columns. It directed me to a website where I would learn how I could become a tree when I die. Of course I had to see what that was about.

It was an article touting the Bios Urn, a biodegradable container made from coconut shell, cellulose and peat. A tree seed could be placed inside where it would be covered and nourished by the departed’s cremains. It was stated that, “You even have the choice to pick the type of plant you would like to become, depending on what kind of planting space you prefer.” That got my brain spinning: would I rather return as a Live Oak or an Eastern Red Cedar?

While I was pondering that decision I happened upon another product called “Spiritree,” a two-piece container that “transforms into a living memorial in the form of a tree.” The Spíritree was reported to be “the only product in the market that connects the funeral tradition of commemoration with land preservation” and that, when used as directed, “will arrest CO2 indefinitely, thus having a truly negative carbon footprint.”

Then I found a third option that was very appealing to the Virginian in me. Called Poetree, it is basically an earthenware pot encircled by a ceramic ring inscribed with the deceased’s name and dates. Ashes and soil go into the “urn” and a baby boxwood tree is then planted in the mixture. The vendor states that this product is “a gorgeous idea that transforms the traditional ‘static’ view of death into something that is fluid and triumphantly hopeful.”

I was almost sold until I noticed our newest dog, Leo, start to lift a leg beside one of our shrubs.

Joanna Angle is a Master Tree Farmer and 2012 South Carolina Tree Farmer of the Year. Her Cedarleaf Farm in Chester County is a Certified Stewardship Forest and part of the American Tree Farm System.

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