Today, I walked to the bus station and thought about the squirrel carcass. In the three weeks I’ve been out of town, everything has changed. The mound of dirt has become a field of grass, blossom-shaped weeds, and tiny yellow flowers on short stems. The carcass is almost invisible, covered as it is under bowing grass stems. Its arms and legs seemed bound by strawberry vines. Its fur is still visible. Where its tail used to be is now a large green blossom-shaped weed.
I wonder how many other people look for that squirrel each time they pass by its resting place. What do they think? Are they curious? Are they afraid? Maybe they think about nature and how life is a complete circle, and that no matter how cruel and painful and bitter the death was, all bodies rot and return to the earth the same way. What I think is—When it is my time to die, it would be nice and peaceful to walk deep into the woods where no one would ever find me, and lay down, go to sleep, and never wake up. It would be wonderful this way because I’ve seen what happens to the squirrel--how worms eat away its insides and how its fur collapses into emptiness once the worms leave. Animals may come and carry pieces of me away. Eventually, however, around what’s left of my body, the grass will grow. Blossom-shaped weeds will surround me. Crimson flowers on long, long stems will bow over me. Rains will wash and polish my bones. Vines will wind around my limbs and over me, crown my head, and tangle around my fingers, holding me tight.