Eternity in the Flowers

It’s hard to do a proper review of everything I read and love, so occasionally, I’m going to post an excerpt or picture from a book I love here on my blog. 
This is a meditation on death from the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, which I picked up again and can’t put down.  The narrator, Christopher, has autism and was accused of killing a dog.  He is trying to puzzle out who really did it and it leads to many other puzzles that he was unaware of until he started trying to be a detective.  I like this passage, particularly now, when spring is here and all the plants are reviving and blooming and we all feel a sense of hope being resurrected from the earth:
                What actually happens when you die is that your brain stops working and your body rots, like Rabbit did when he died and we buried him in the earth at the bottom of the garden.  And all his molecules were broken down into other molecules and they went into the earth and were eaten by worms and went into the plants and if we go and dig in the same place in 10 years there will be nothing except his skeleton left.  And in 1,000 years even his skeleton will be gone.  But that’s all right because he is a part of the flowers and the apple tree and the hawthorn bush now.
                When people die they are sometimes put into coffins, which means that they don’t mix with the earth for a very long time until the wood of the coffin rots.
                But Mother was cremated.  This means she was put into a coffin and burned and ground up and turned into ash and smoke.  I do not know what happens to the ash and I couldn’t ask at the crematorium because I didn’t go to the funeral.  But the smoke goes out of the chimney and into the air and sometimes I look up into the sky and I think that there are molecules of Mother up there, or in the clouds over Africa or the Antarctic, or coming down as rain in the rain forests in Brazil, or in snow somewhere.

–Mark Haddon



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