After a year of sitting on my shelf, I finally started reading a morbid mystery novel set in 12th century England.  The story aptly titled the Mistress of Death follows a female coroner’s investigation into the deaths of little children.

Macabre, I know.

There was a line in the book that struck me.  The main character talks about the amazing beauty of the process of decomposition.  When we die, our bodies don’t just hang around and accumulate like styrofoam piled up in garbage dumps.  No, they slowly decompose, turning into dust.  And this dust enriches the earth making the planet that much better for us living folks.

Of course we know this from biology class.  But to see it as a beautiful process is eye-opening for me.

Coincidentally (or not as I’m a big believe in orchestrating chance — discussion for another day), I came across a story illuminating the visual beauty of decay.  The photo series entitled “Cosmos” by photographer Marcus DeSeino focuses on bacteria, and what it looks like as it “eats” its way into food or other matter.

Sounds gross, right?  But the pictures are quite beautiful!

When we think of the beauty of nature, we often envision natural landscapes or babies being born.  But natural decay has its own sort of beauty.  And this beauty isn’t just theoretical but a visual masterpiece too!

Take a look for yourselves.

A Photograph of a Star Cluster Eaten by Bacteria Found on My iPhone's Screen.
A Photograph of a Star Cluster Eaten by Bacteria Found on My iPhone’s Screen.
A Photograph of the Trumpler 17 Region Eaten by Bacteria Found in My Trombone’s Mouthpiece.
A Photograph of the Little Dumbbell Nebula Eaten by Bacteria Found on My Gym's 20-Pound Dumbbells.
A Photograph of the Little Dumbbell Nebula Eaten by Bacteria Found on My Gym’s 20-Pound Dumbbells.

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