Somewhere in the understory of our young forest, an animal recently found a secluded corner in which to breathe its last. The smell emanating from that quarter of the lot tells its own story; it reeks of death, of the earth's indifferent approach to reclaiming the elements that a spirit once borrowed from it. While we can pinpoint the area where the body is based on the stench, the growth there is impenetrably thick. And so this creature found a place in which it could walk through the mortal veil almost without a trace, leaving behind only the most ethereal substance: its scent.
I have always been fascinated by the animal habit of hiding when death is near. And I've felt its first stirrings in myself: once when I was choking, I walked away to a room where I could not be seen to have my near death experience in private. It was a counter-intuitive response. You really don't want to be alone in a room when you can't speak and seriously need help from another person. But there I found myself doing it, without thinking. It was instinctual.
There's something profound about the universal instinct to withdraw from this world quietly, to leave behind our mortal shell in a place where it cannot be found; to transform our bodies into no more than a scent on the wind and float away.