Friday, 8 July 2011

Woodland Burial

Today I attended the first ever woodland burial I have ever seen.

Frankly not very happy at the thought of such a farewell, and feeling decidedly apprehensive as to what it might entail, and furthermore with rain forecast, I feared the worst.

Having just returned I have to admit it was one of the most inspirational settings I've ever encountered.  Beautifull old woodland, wild flowers in abundance, bird-song a constant background and a feeling of tranquillity not to be found in any conventional cemetary.

The celebration of the life of the deceased, whom I had known only slightly was a very well planned and executed one.  There was a huge attendance.  He had been a man well known in many different spheres and there was a much larger number than usual of clergy in attendance also.

All the seats were filled and as many more stood throughout the hour-long service.

Despite the obvious sadness of those closest to him,  this man's life had had so many moments which were embossed on the minds of those who knew  him best that he 'came to life' in a quite unexpected way through the many tributes paid to him , so that we who knew him less well were able to see him as he had been.

I have seldom seen 'pictures' so clearly painted and it left me wishing i had known him better.

If a funeral can be said to be a pleasant experience, this one was.


  1. I can think of much worse places to be buried, Ray. I've got my eye on a plot in the churchyard of the village where we live in Wales (and where I was once vicar) Right in the centre of the village where I can keep my eye on things.... :-)

  2. Sounds wonderful, and bears thinking about.

  3. Thanks for your comments both.
    Having thought about it further, it hasn't really changed my view, which is that I much prefer cremation to burial.
    Having said that, I can understand why some people would want somewhere to go and be 'with' the deceased.
    Perhaps if I had a family it would appear in a different light, but my ashes will be interred with John's for the sake of tidyness as much as anything.
    Burial, for me, still feels slightly primative.

  4. I also attended a woodland burial on the day you posted this. I think it may have been the same one. I found it beautiful. During the service I found myself watching through the window of the 'ceremonial hall' first a squirrel then a woodpecker. I thought of the words 'in the midst of life we are in death' and about the new life that comes through Christ's death.

  5. Yes Nancy, I imagine it would have been the same one. There was much in the very well conducted service to make us think of what follows after our earthly existence.
    It certainly was beautiful.