"Each of us is a living spirit. When you’re dead, you’re not dead. You are very much alive." - Gregge Tiffen

Last week many in our community celebrated the life of a feisty artist who died just a few days shy of her 91st birthday. How her life was celebrated seemed to me to create a bridge between what we know as ‘living’ on this side and what we think of as ‘dead’ on the other. The ceremony itself and the words spoken by family and friends were a beautiful reminder that this body I inhabit is only one small slice in the bigger pie that is my life as a living spirit.

That event and the coming of Halloween on October 31 presented an opportunity to take a look at the nature of life as I understand it and at the messages that surround me in nature, natural billboards that proclaim “life everlasting”.

For me, trees carry this message beautifully in the cycles of the seasons and in what happens when the tree dies. The tree lives on long after its death. It may simply decompose in the forest, providing a rich environment for new tree life to sprout. Or, the dead tree may become firewood, like that I’ve been stacking, ready to break the morning chill.

In the autumn, brilliantly colored leaves that sprouted in spring’s warmth gently fall to the ground. At quick glance, the tree appears dead during the winter. But, it will burst forth again after the snow melts and it is touched by the warmth of the sun.

I believe life is like that on this planet we call home. When, this body is done, I believe that, like the tree, I will live on, continuing to develop, learn and grow. Then at some perfect future point, one that is just right for my learning, another body, another life will come along. And I’ll catch another ride.

This week as I sit by the fire in the quiet beauty of a fading fall, I ask to know more about the other side. I want a glimpse of what life is like beyond the bounds of this body that is, at least for now, my home.