Natural Recylcing

Heading out back yesterday, we were immediately struck by the pungent odor of decay. Having been unable to entice a visiting groundhog into our cage-trap over the previous week, we immediately suspected that he was the victim. Indeed, a collection of flies near the corner of the deck signaled his location and, after removing a few boards, we found the hapless critter, half consumed by tiny, writhing maggots; he was soon relocated to a burial plot along the back fence.

We are all familiar with the sickly sweet fragrance of decomposition, having passed dead animals on the trail or caught the whiff of a bloated carcass along the highway. And while we often resort to embalming fluids, mortician magic and caskets to sanitize the deaths of humans, these measures offer but a temporary reprieve from nature's relentless course.

Death and decomposition are unpleasant to encounter but they are just as natural as birth and maturation. The decay and recycling of plant and animal matter are essential to the welfare of future generations; vultures, worms, maggots and carrion beetles are as vital to Earth's ecosystems as the myriad of creatures that, in death, provide their food.