Turning Cadavers Into Compost

Lisa Wells at Harper’s Magazine:

He died the day after Christmas. His loved ones washed and anointed his body and kept vigil at his bedside. “He looked like a king,” Jenifer told me. “He was really, really beautiful.” She showed me a few photos. His body had been laid atop a hemp shroud and covered from the neck down in a layer of dried herbs and flower petals. Bouquets of lavender and tree fronds wreathed his head, and a ladybug pendant on a beaded string lay across his brow like a diadem. Only his bearded face was exposed, wearing the peaceful, inscrutable expression of the dead. He did look like a king, or like a woodland deity out of Celtic mythology—his gauze-wrapped neck the only evidence of his life as a mortal.

On the third day of their vigil, Jenifer felt his spirit go.

Amigo Bob joined nine other pioneers at the Greenhouse on the cusp of the New Year: the first humans in the world to be legally composted.

more here.