JOURNEY JOURNAL... Canton, Ohio
Imagine a man with a full head of hair, but a short haircut… for the most part. On the top of his head, though, there sits a delineated patch of tall, straight strands that have remained unscathed by scissor blades, creating a Mohawk effect amidst more typical follicular terrain.
Now transfer this image to a cemetery. Upon coming across the Emerald Meadows green burial site at the North Lawn Cemetery, a visitor could easily draw this analogy.
Its overgrown patch of grass earmarked for natural burials is well defined by the action of a lawn mower that passes regularly along its perimeter. Anyone conducting a study of contrasts would likely find this envisage illuminating. Immediately surrounding the margined tract is the archetypically groomed landscape of traditional burial grounds. Adjacent to the prairie-like tall grasses waving in the breezes are flat, manicured lawns dotted by headstones.
Although this plot of land is small relative to the cemetery grounds in general, plans for its use have met with approval, prompting the granting of certification by the Green Burial Council. To achieve such status, operating principles must conform to standards set by the organization. That is, their established regulations must be followed.
So when bodies or cremated remains are buried here, they will be in biodegradable containers or wrappings that are free of any manufactured materials such as metals and plastic. Embalming with toxic chemicals will have been avoided. Mounds of dirt will cover gravesites to compensate for settling in the absence of vaults or liners. Optional grave markers must be flat, natural stones. Placement of artificial flowers and memorial objects is prohibited. Detailed guidelines will be followed to maintain the natural essence of this circumscribed piece of property.
Next time you look at a man’s head, think of the different ways there are in this world to “go natural.”