Buried Treasure

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About thirty minutes southeast of Austin, away from the cities breadth of life rests the quiet Eloise Woods. A two-lane country road cradled by pastures paves the way to a plot of land owned and maintained by Ellen Macdonald. It’s mid-March in Texas and spring tiptoes in, but the woods still nap; though winters here are seldom harsh the last came with pestering freezes. A yellow butterfly coaxes the plants to life as it dances around the property. Alone, Macdonald digs and decorates, attending to a miscellany of tasks that await her care. Life ignites the earth and distracts from the inconspicuous headstones that furnish the ground. Grief does not cloak Eloise Woods, though the ground is nourished by the remains of those passed.

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            Nowadays death is accompanied by elaborate services and a price tag of thousands all administered by a funeral director. This method has become…

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