Penn Forest Natural Burial Park is a very special place. I knew from the minute I met Pete McQuillin, the owner, that I needed to come and learn more. We had a great conversation at a business networking meeting about alternative burial options, and I was intrigued. It’s not something that most people feel comfortable talking about, but death is a part of life! When Pete told me that they were having a yoga with goats class, I knew I had to be there. I enjoyed a laughter filled spring afternoon mingling with goats, ducks and chickens as we did yoga in the grass. It was so quiet and peaceful there in their little farm next door to the burial ground.
I took a tour with the groundskeeper and learned about this alternative way to be buried. It is “green” burial, which involves a simple wooden coffin, or just a cloth-wrapped body buried in the ground. Cremated remains can also be buried or scattered here. This form of burial is better for the environment, and much less expensive. The day I was there, a gathering was happening to celebrate the life of a man who had been buried there 6 months before. I was surprised to be invited in to the party with such warmth by total strangers who were grieving the loss of a friend. My conversation with these strangers was so uplifting. It’s amazing and beautiful to experience people coming together in good times and bad, sharing a pretty day in nature and appreciating friendship and simple pleasures as we think about how it will all someday come to an end. As I walked through the woods next to the burial ground, I felt very peaceful and filled with love for all the people whose presence I enjoy today, and for those souls have gone before us.