Amanda Joe spent a lot of time on farms when she was a kid, and having seen a lot of dead animals, she thought she was used to death.
But then she passed a fallen bird's nest on her way to school one day. The small pink bodies lying on the ground never left her memory.
“They looked like they were sleeping,” Joe said. “The stillness of it is what scared me as a kid, silence, stillness and something is just gone now.”
When something is gone, you do one of two things: bury it or let nature run its course. Joe didn’t want to do either of those, at least not at first. So she picked a third. Singing — she sat there for hours just singing to the dead baby birds.
“(It) made me feel like I acknowledged them, like I gave them something," Joe said. "And I still remember them. I can still see them in the gravel."
Joe’s appreciation didn’t stop there. She started collecting dead bugs, insects, and eventually animal bones. Now, Joe makes a living out of death: by culling forests for bones she can turn into jewelry and sell online.
It’s fun. It pays the bills. And it’s given Joe a perspective on death that may strike you as beautiful or a bit uncomfortable.