In the Beginning – My Memory of Drowning

Water--ripplesI started down this road to writing books with characters who can perform Christ’s miracles because of the crystal clear memory I have of nearly drowning when I was four years old. It seems wonderful to me that I not only remember something that no one could have told me, but that it’s a GOOD memory. I mean, you’d think almost dying wouldn’t be a fond remembrance. That alone has to be a miracle.

Before I started writing fiction, I wrote poetry. I really didn’t see myself writing anything longer than a poem that would fit on one page. I guess God had other ideas. As it turns out, I’ve written poems that fit each of the three novels I’ve finished. I’ve shared a couple of them, but this is the poem that describes that seminal event–that near drowning in 1976.

IN THE BEGINNING

How can nearly drowning be
my best, first memory?

At the age of four I fell in a pond
and it could have been the end
of a life barely begun, but instead
I remember the golden light
filtering through old leaves and silt,
the underwaterness of the sun,
the weightlessness of me.

My mother pulled me out—
birthed me all over again—
and maybe it was like leaving
the warmth of the womb.
The new air hurt my throat,
my lungs, that breath
a whisper of my first.

Taken from the farm to a hospital,
Mom lifted me into a high window
on a night when I was nearly whole.
I could see lights stretching further
than tomorrow—more lights
than there could be in this world.

And I remember the wonder
of being alive and knowing
that all of this was for me.

13 thoughts on “In the Beginning – My Memory of Drowning

  1. Mom

    Well now, that surely made me cry! I wish my memories of the actual event were as positive. I’m just so thankful that it turned out well AND that it’s a good memory for you. 🙂

  2. Yes, I’m sure your momma had a much less poetic take on that experience! But I love the being birthed twice..the underwater views and thoughts. Beautiful, Sarah. And we’re all so glad you survived!

  3. The water imagery in poem reminds me of James Elroy Flecker…

    “…and thou shall see the myriad worlds
    as men see dew upon the grass”

    Remembering, with grace, the a visit to the gates of beyond is truly something to be valued, and thank you for sharing it!

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