Iowa Writes

MARCIA A. MURPHY
Dawn


Once one has survived a near-death experience, everyday life is seen with a new perspective. My near-death experience occurred when I barely survived a suicide attempt back in my late thirties. Afterward, buried in a fog of doubt and confusion, I clawed my way into the light of life. Still, over a decade later, I experience rebirth in numerous ways on various occasions.

Recently, my friend advised: "Go outside in the early morning. Listen to the birds. What are they saying to you?"

So I went out. The morning, still dark from the cover of night, came alive with the delicate, yet mighty chorus of birdsong. I walked about. A cardinal in a tree, one on a TV antenna. All around, there were different kinds of birds merging notes and melodies, seemingly joyous, yet with a hint of melancholy. It then occurred to me that birds were not only singing in my neighborhood, but they were doing so all over the city, the countryside, the state, and the region. In fact, they sang anywhere the sun was rising, as it did all over the world. Such a thought captivated me in wonder and awe.

Once one has survived a near-death experience, everyday life is seen with a new perspective. My near-death experience occurred when I barely survived a suicide attempt back in my late thirties. Afterward, buried in a fog of doubt and confusion, I clawed my way into the light of life. Still, over a decade later, I experience rebirth in numerous ways on various occasions.

Recently, my friend advised: "Go outside in the early morning. Listen to the birds. What are they saying to you?"

So I went out. The morning, still dark from the cover of night, came alive with the delicate, yet mighty chorus of birdsong. I walked about. A cardinal in a tree, one on a TV antenna. All around, there were different kinds of birds merging notes and melodies, seemingly joyous, yet with a hint of melancholy. It then occurred to me that birds were not only singing in my neighborhood, but they were doing so all over the city, the countryside, the state, and the region. In fact, they sang anywhere the sun was rising, as it did all over the world. Such a thought captivated me in wonder and awe.

A neighbor opened her door, coffee in hand.

"Good morning," I called out.

"Good morning," she said.

When one has had a close encounter with death, afterwards all that makes life worthwhile becomes more apparent. Now, I don't take the singing of birds for granted. And I'll never forget one particular spring morning when the heavens poured down showers. I still heard one solitary bird somewhere out there in the rain. It sang, giving praise to its Maker. Undaunted. Loyal. So I thought to myself: let this be a lesson for me. Even while in the midst of life's storms. Sing.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


MARCIA A. MURPHY

Marcia A. Murphy is a writer and hospital volunteer. She has written extensively and published work on mental illness and recovery. She lives in Iowa City, IA.

This page was first displayed
on September 27, 2006

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