Posts Tagged With: phosphorescence

From Death to Diamonds

Angel Gravestone I don’t know about you, but I have thought a lot about whether I’d rather be buried or cremated. Don’t ask me why. It’s not like I’m obsessed with death or anything. Far from it. And it’s not as if we have a “family plot.” In fact, I’m not even sure where anybody in my family has been buried except my grandfather on my mom’s side, and I didn’t even know him. So really, it doesn’t matter which choice I ultimately make.

I’ve been to several funerals in my life. It felt so weird and creepy to sit in a church and look at the body lying in the casket up front, almost as if the person lying there was simply taking a nap and we were all watching to see if he would wake up. And then afterwards, at the graveyard, everyone standing around the big rectangular hole in the earth, ready to swallow him up. I thought about the body and the wooden coffin rotting in the ground, decomposing into the dirt and water table. Gross. I never was crazy about the idea of burial.

And then there’s cremation. My grandfather was cremated, and my dad carried the urn that contained his ashes around in the back of his car – actually, my grandfather’s car – for days. If I went somewhere with him, I could hear the thing rolling around back there. I thought, That’s my urn for human ashesgrandfather. That was more than a little strange. My mom finally told him to get the thing out of the car, and I have no idea what he did with it after that. Who wants to have their ashes sitting in an urn and nobody knows where it is – or what’s in it? No thank you.

My husband’s father was cremated, and afterwards, he and his mother and his siblings scattered his ashes in Lake Geneva. It was what his father had wanted, since he loved the lake and used to stroll along it all the time. I think that is beautiful. Sometimes when we are in Switzerland visiting my husband’s mother, we walk along the lake and remember him.

That makes me think that maybe I’d like to be cremated after all, and scattered in the Rub al Khali desert, because I grew up in Saudi Arabia and I have such great memories of it.

Arabian desert

Arabian desert

But no, that would be probably be hard for my family to do. They would have to travel halfway around the world and Saudi Arabia doesn’t mean anything to them. They’ve never been there, they’ve never seen the grand sweeping expanse of dunes that shimmer and shift in the desert heat. They haven’t gazed up at the night sky, luminous with a million stars so bright and so close you felt like you could reach up and touch them.

desert sky full of stars

desert sky full of stars

Phosphorescence in the water

They never swam in warm Gulf water that gently lifted your body up with its salty buoyancy, and lit up around you at night in sparkling streaks of phosphorescence. And it’s not like they could go there whenever they felt like it, and remember me. No, I guess that would be asking too much.

And then yesterday I read this article about a man in Switzerland who creates tiny diamonds out of the ashes of the dead. He does this in a beautiful and respectful way, honoring the family as well as the departed in every step of the process. I really love the whole idea of it. I think that is what I’d like to have done after I die. And then whoever feels like they’d like to have the little keepsake can have it. They can even pass it around amongst themselves every year if they want to. And they would know I would always be with them. I wouldn’t be decomposing in a hole in the ground, in a place that means nothing to me, or occupying an unsightly urn on a bookshelf or mantle (or God forbid, in the back of a car).

And, maybe someday, someone might even be inspired to take a trip to Saudi Arabia, and toss me out among the dunes or in the crystal blue water of the Gulf. That would be nice, too.

You can read about the man in Switzerland who is making the diamonds here.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this subject, so please feel free to comment. Or just take part in my poll:

PS A blogger I follow wrote a great post about the week’s events and the importance of passing the Death With Dignity Act nationwide. Check out her post here.

Categories: Think About it | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Synchronicity

According to Wikipedia:

Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner.

When someone says “synchronicity,” most people think of ladies swimming…..

synchronized swimmersor The Police…..

But in fact, there is a far deeper meaning to the term.

The concept of synchronicity was developed by the Swiss psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Carl Jung back in 1930.

Deutsch: Carl Gustav Jung

Deutsch: Carl Gustav Jung (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carl Jung is considered to be the founder of Analytical Psychology. Jung believed that the individual has access – through the unconscious – to an “absolute knowledge” that is not bound by the confines of space or time. Without these limitations, the psyche is able to participate in the events of all of nature.

In other words, through our dreams, we can get in touch with things that our waking mind can not.

Volumes could be written on this esoteric subject, but what actually made me think of it was not quite so mysterious.

The reason I started thinking about synchronicity was, fireflies (aka lightning bugs).

Did you know that there are only two places in the entire world where you can witness the  phenomenon of synchronized fireflies?

I know this because I used to live near one of them: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

In late Spring, thousands of fireflies inhabit the park. As soon as dusk falls, the little lightning bugs start to light up – in unison. They flash their little beacons six or seven times, and then pause for about the same amount of time before lighting up again. It’s an incredible display of light patterns that moves across the mountains like a glowing wave. When I saw it, it reminded me of when I was a little girl and my family camped out at the beach in Saudi Arabia. We would go swimming at night in the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf, and because of the phosphorescence, every movement would leave a wake of iridescent miniature stars in its wake.

Of course, the explanation behind the fireflies is more mundane: in fact, the males are actually “talking” to the females of their species, trying to get their attention. The females, in turn, flash their come-hither lights if they are interested, thus guiding their horny suitors to where they are hiding in the dark.

But the real mystery and beauty lies in the synchronicity of the display. Why do the fireflies do it – and how do they know exactly when to light up?

Like Jung’s concept, steeped in esoteric knowledge, the mysterious synchronized fireflies are just one of the countless phenomena that no one can explain. It is something that will take your breath away, if you are lucky enough to witness it…..

Synchronized fireflies in the Smoky Mountains

Synchronized fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Have you seen the fireflies? And what are your thoughts on synchronicity?? I’d love to hear what you think!

Categories: Fun Stuff, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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