“We are the ultimate scavengers of all time.
Everything from the coal forests to a large part of the earth’s animal biomass– domestic birds and mammals (and, increasingly, fish)– are cycled directly into us, instead of into a sustainable world ecosystem.”
–Bernd Heinrich, Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death
I’m a consumer. I consume meat, I consume gas in my car, I consume electricity in my house. I do my own special little part to rape the earth’s natural resources every single day. Cheeseburger? Yes. Air Conditioning? Yes. Mine. Give ’em to me.
I will likely spend my entire life– however long may be left of it– consuming plants and animals and resources. Since I am only one small part of this grand ecosystem, what should happen when I die? It makes sense to me that I should lie where I die. Let the earth have me, essentially saying, “ok nature, hear ya go, sorry I’ve been taking and taking all my damn life. Here’s my corpse, hope you like it.”
It’s a shame my body even has to be put into a hole in the ground, even a comfy dirt one. Down in the dirt I’ll meet beetles and worms, but I won’t have a chance to be picked apart by ravens, or turkey vultures, or dragged off by a bear. If I were a deer that would happen to me. I’d wander into the woods and die. But since I’m a human they’d come search for me and do a crime scene investigation and take my body to the coroner’s office and then bury me somewhere “proper.”
Think of all the things that could eat me, instead! We’re talking wolves and magpies and bald eagles and coyotes and botflies. Each one taking small parts of me to different place, spreading the wealth and continuing life. How blindingly narcissistic for us to say that although I consume I shall never be consumed. What hubris!
Raven scavenging is by no means my final word in dead body disposal. My opinions are constantly evolving. Yours should be too, and should plan to do with your dead body what makes you comfortable with your own mortality. The thought of being picked apart by ravens may be as horrifying to you as it is blissful for me. Just (corpse) food for thought.