Dead-People Trees | HumorOutcasts

Dead-People Trees

November 30, 2018

Of the many innovative human burial concepts I’m aware of, the one that interests me most right now is the method of turning your corpse into a tree.

A concept by Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel called Capsula Mundi envisions trees growing from decomposing burial pods. Trees or tree seeds would be planted on top of a corpse in fetal position encased in a biodegradable egg-shaped pod. Citelli and Bretzel hope that some day cemeteries with headstones will be replaced with entire forests of dead-people trees.

Doesn’t this seem a fitting way to commemorate a person’s entire his-tree? Wouldn’t such symbolism constitute a kind of po-e-tree?

Instead of deciding whether to have a coffin made of oak, cherry, or walnut, you could decide which of these trees you’d like to become.

Imagine all the opportunities of suiting the tree to the person: for prickly people, spiky locust trees; for offbeat relatives, nuts; for the nicest people, real peaches and plums; for rich women, firs; and for bonded couples who die at the same time, a single pear. Was the person a misanthrope, a sourpuss? Imagine his delight at becoming a hackberry, mulberry, or Chinese cherry; having birds eat his fruit; and then crapping all over people’s cars. Wouldn’t that just make his eternal day?

Maybe you died forgotten and alone, but with this technique, even in death it’s not too late for you to become poplar.

I myself think I’d like to become a fruit tree, say an apple—a sweet apple tree so that people would say, “Bill’s bark is worse than his bite.” Though dead, I’d still be fruitful. I could become a pie, a cobbler, or a streudel. Why, I could fritter away the afterlife. Though decomposing, I could still have a peel. I could be saucy. I could be hard apple cider and be as intoxicating as ever. I could work on my core. And I’d still be in people’s lives: An apple a day keeps Bill Spencer in play. I could symbolically say, “Eat me!” And anyone who did would be guilty of can-apple-ism. As an apple tree, I think I could continue to growas a personif I apple-ied myself. I think I could really flower. And once I was established, I could branch out. Every spring my sap would rise, and every autumn I’d get more colorful.

And I’d try to get my wife to become an apple tree, too, planted as nearby as possible. We could spend our whole deaths together. She’d continue to be the apple of my eye. I could be a Gala, and she could be my Honeycrisp. Both apples but with our distinct differences. Two varieties of the same fruit. And I’d be very happy because even after we’re dead, we could still cross-pollinate.

My thanks to Wildacres Retreat, where this essay was written.

Bill Spencer

Bill Spencer's humor writing has been published by Funny Times, Narrative magazine, Reader's Digest, The Sun, The Inconsequential, Clever magazine, Defenestration, The Short Humour Site, Hobo Pancakes, and Nuthouse. He has also published scholarly articles on the novels of Cormac McCarthy and is co-author of an unproduced screenplay, "Angel Pays a Visit." He lives in a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife, artist-poet Carolyn Elkins.

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8 Responses to Dead-People Trees

  1. rfreed
    December 1, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    “As I would slowly return to this earth
    what little this body of mine might be worth
    It’d soon start to nourish the roots of that tree
    and it would partake of the essence of me…..

    but I’d just as soon serve out eternity’s time
    asleep at the feet of the Bristle Cone Pine.”
    —lyrics from “Bristle Cone Pine”

    My girlfriend would refuse to eat the raspberries from the tall bushes of them in a nearby graveyard because she thought they would have bodily and embalming juices in them from the bodies there.

    • Bill Spencer
      December 2, 2018 at 5:47 am

      I love the lyrics. Thanks for posting them. As for your girlfriend, that’s berry sad.

  2. December 1, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Just put me in Muir Woods. Anywhere there will do.

    • Bill Spencer
      December 2, 2018 at 5:38 am

      Millions would visit you just to be in your presence and look at you in awe. May the forest be with you.

  3. December 1, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Can I be one of those giant Redwoods to make up for my stature in real life?

    • Bill Spencer
      December 1, 2018 at 9:07 pm

      Donna, you are a towering presence NOW!

  4. Bill Y "The Legendary Legend" Ledden
    November 30, 2018 at 11:01 am

    This is dead cool.

    • Bill Spencer
      November 30, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Even when I’m dead, I’ll be rooting for you, Bill Y.

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