Monday, April 19, 2010

Dirt the Movie airs tomorrow

Today I read William Bryant Logan's chapter called The Soil of Graves in which he discusses the soil toxifying practice of embalming corpses with formaldehyde. I know this is a morbid subject, I'm sorry, but having smelled the sweet breathe of the soil, I feel strongly the sweetness of the body should become the sweetness of the earth. But it doesn't happen when humans see themselves as over or separate from nature, when we fear and vilify it, impeding its life regenerating processes with formaldehyde. I don't believe dust to dust + Formaldehyde was the holy plan.

Roger Williams and his heretic state have made appearances on this blog before. Here they come again as I borrow from Logan's Dirt: "The founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, and his wife were buried side by side. Later, an apple tree was planted near the grave. When, decades later, the citizens went to find the bodies to rebury them with honor, it was discovered that they had wholly decayed. Not even the bones were left. A nearby apple tree had wound its roots around the corpses, sucking up the phosphorus of the bones and weaving in living roots the shapes of the dead man and his wife."

Not all of Dirt, the Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, written by Brooklyn arborist Logan, are as necrocentric, for instance the chapter on compost gurus dedicated to "vivifying the soil" is too important to be missed. A movie based on his book airs tomorrow night at 10 on PBS in honor of Earth Day. That is absolutely perfect. Heart and soil, yes.


Old First said...

I'd love a tree to do that to me. A hemlock, maybe. I couldn't imagine the honor of a white pine.

Matthew said...

Yes, that is lovely, to feed the woods.

amarilla said...

Amen, my bruthas.