First Burial at the Forest
By: Mary Ann Perry
Sexton, The Forest Conservation Burial Ground
Life surrounded us as we approached the grave site with Scott’s body wrapped beautifully in a silk shroud woven with color. Deer walked across the meadow while we watched from the edge under the protection of towering pines and firs. Though this was a reverent affair, the swallows in the nearby nest box maintained their dutiful rhythm of caring for the new lives entrusted to them.
The Forest Conservation Burial Ground, Oregon’s first dedicated natural burial ground, had only been officially open for burials for about two weeks when we received the call. She was a friend of the family and was stepping up to offer support in a time of need. The backstory was tragic. Two mid-life and in love sailors adventuring around the world, finding themselves on land (in Miami, FL) to be with family and see what would unfold with the game-changing novel coronavirus. Their paths took a sharp and unexpected turn one morning over coffee when Scott collapsed. A few days later he would be pronounced dead. His wife, Viviane, knew that a natural burial was the choice for them, as was returning to the west coast. After a few email and phone exchanges, the burial was scheduled and travel arranged.
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