Tag Archives: trees

Die…and Become a Tree?

Many people wonder what happens to us after we inevitably pass away. Is there just nothing, a black oblivion without consciousness or thought? Or is there some afterlife, a place where our soul or spirit lives on? Many religions and philosophies dedicate themselves to finding out, and while we can’t say for certain what happens to us after we die, we do have a say in what becomes of our bodies once we do pass away. And, as it turns out, you (or at least your remains) can become a tree.

capsula mundi
“Essentially what Capsula Mundi does is place your corpse inside a biodegradable burial pod with the seeds of your preferred tree on top.” Photo from: http://www.jebiga.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CAPSULA-MUNDI-05.jpg

The Capsula Mundi project was created by two designers, Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel. It is a new, more eco-friendly burial practice that is quickly becoming available. Essentially what Capsula Mundi does is place your corpse inside a biodegradable burial pod with the seeds of your preferred tree on top. Then you are buried in a special “cemetery” (land set aside for these burial pods) and the tree eventually grows by using the resources and nutrients from your body.

So what is so great about this new type of burial? For starters, it is much more environmentally friendly than your traditional burial. Wooden coffins (and coffins in general) are only used for a few days for the sake of the funeral ceremony and after that they are essentially thrown away. That’s a lot of trees that have been cut down for a pretty limited use. Whereas the burial pod does the exact opposite and creates more trees–trees that will, presumably, last for many years. The pods are also completely biodegradable and will eventually become a part of the soil, providing more nutrients for the tree and the surrounding area. Not to mention, you could have an impressive tree that will continue to grow even more impressive as the years go by rather than a headstone that will wear down to a blank rock.

A plot in a cemetery is, essentially, useless. This isn’t meant to disrespect any of the dearly departed or anyone who might want to have a traditional burial. However, you can’t argue with the fact that this type of memorial would be more helpful than a headstone. There is also the fact that a “cemetery” full of trees would be a lot cheerier and not nearly as depressing as our typical cemetery. Wouldn’t a person want their loved ones to be happier when they went and visited them?

Hammocking 101

Note: This article was written in a hammock.

The weather in Radford has been as unpredictable as ever. A couple weeks ago, it was freezing, with cutting wind and snow flurries. This past weekend has brought some sunnier weather, and with it, college students with cabin fever, lured outside to enjoy the warm weather and a break from usual February temperatures. You’ve probably seen plenty of people in hammocks (or hammockers) in some of the trees lining Moffet Quad or in other trees on campus. If you don’t have a hammock and are thinking about getting one, here’s some hammock info.


It works best to hang your hammock from two trees, but if you find a big tree with long, strong, low-hanging branches, you can loop your straps over the same branch and hang it from just a single branch.


“They are comfortable, durable, portable, and come in a variety of different colors – photo from http://kidproject.org

Eno (not Enu, and it stands for Eagle Nest Outfitters) is a popular brand of hammock. They are comfortable, durable, portable and come in a bunch of different colors. There are two different sizes: Singlenest and Doublenest. They are somewhat pricey, however. The Singlenest on the Eno website is $60 and the Doublenest is $70. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, there are several other less-expensive brands that are about the same quality as Eno. Consider though that off-brand hammocks usually come with strings instead of straps. You have to tie and knot these strings yourself and they are usually not very long. If you are thinking about getting an off-brand hammock, getting straps to go with it makes setting up your hammock a lot simpler and faster.


Eno has its own brand of straps with different options that are easy to use and don’t require tying any knots. The Slapstraps are the simplest straps, with eight adjustment points/loops. They are about $20 on the Eno website. An upgrade option are the Atlas straps, which are longer, have 30 adjustment points, and cost about $30. Extra-long straps are also available and cost about $40 on the website. To hang your hammock using straps, loop the straps around the tree and then through the loop at the end of the strap. Finally, select the adjustment loop you want to hang your hammock from.

Happy Hammocking!


Behind a locked door,

I can only think about

Simple compass circles,

And I am forced to steady my mind.


Your forest eyes follow me –

Will she? Will she really do this?

Slowly, I pull off one sleeve and then another.

You take me at my word,

Settling on a pose.

“Are you sure you can stay still?”

Are you sure? Are you sure you want this?

I nod, lounging across your pillow.


Every curve and crease

Drifts onto blank paper.

It’s the first you’ve worked me out

In pencil lines and ebony charcoal –

I couldn’t draw as you do.

You’d laugh at my sloppy lines

And squiggled fingers.

Artists scrutinize every motion,

But it’s better to lie here, still,

Soaking in sun through the cracks in your blinds.

The Burial, Photo from http://alexandra-sophie.fr/the-burial









You capture the feel of my skin,

The light that strikes my eyes,

And the thump of my heart.

I am merely lines and shadows

To a cross-hatched world in your mind.


Finally, work ceases.

You move to me

With shaking hands.

I grasp hold of each,

Pulling you to me,

And close my eyes to feeling.


Fluttering, falling, fading,

Once green leaves stained yellow with groundless fears,

Buffeted and shaken by rains that once

Wouldn’t have even been noticed.

One by one the leaves die of terror,

And the branches are left bare.

But instead of doing anything,

The tree lets it happen.

The more the leaves fall,

The less strength there is to hold on to the ones left.

The wind tries to help,

Tickling branches in ways the tree once loved.

But without leaves, the wind feels harsh and exhausting.


“One by one the leaves die of terror, And the branches are left bare.” Photo from: www.staticflickr.com



Branches snicker, snap, and groan

At the innocent wind.

The bare bony fingers reach towards the sky,

Scraping against the blue in desperation.

But the sky never says anything,

And only the rain that was already coming

Responds to the cries.

Soon there is nothing

To protect from the coming ice,

And all that remains

Is to do


I Am Here

Do not be afraid my love,

Just close your eyes and drift away.

I’ll see you in my dreams tonight,

With loving eyes and whispered fright.


Please do not run,

From your fears and sorrows.

Don’t think of all the bad tomorrows.

I’ll help you quiet the chaos of your mind,

And guide you through when you are blind.


You will learn, one day my dear,

That you’re never alone, for I am here.

In every breath and every wind,

Through sun and trees and back again.


I’ll never leave you, you must know.

If sadness or madness ever grow.

I’m by your side,

Through thick and thin.

I will love you,

‘Til the very end.

“I’ll help you quiet the chaos of your mind, And guide you through when you are blind.”




Return of the cicada broods

This springtime you might want to think about doubling up on the bug spray if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. Every 17 years, adult, three-inch cicadas come up from the earth and swarm all the way from Connecticut to Virginia. They’re well known for their mass numbers and the mating calls they make. Continue reading Return of the cicada broods