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You Died Today: Thoughts and a Poem About Death in Nature

Linda Crampton is an experienced teacher who enjoys reading and creative writing. She likes classical literature, fantasy, myth, and poetry.

The joy of spring may be tempered by sadness.

The joy of spring may be tempered by sadness.

Reflections in Early Spring

Yesterday I discovered a dead bird in my back garden. In the morning, he or she was probably alive. I didn’t see the body as I explored the garden while thinking about the spring jobs that I should do this year. By the late afternoon, the bird was dead and its body was lying on the ground.

A death can be sad for those of us left behind but is inevitable for all of us, whatever the nature of our existence on Earth. Discovering a dead animal may make us think about our own mortality, as it does for me. We like to think of ourselves as superior beings (and in many ways we are), but biologically humans are part of the animal kingdom and will eventually meet the same fate as the bird.

In this article, I share some thoughts and ideas about death as well as the poem that I wrote about the dead bird. Some of the ideas that have been proposed about the end of life and the nature of reality are intriguing and may be comforting for some people. I think they are worth exploring in the literature.

The snowdrops that emerge in spring are a lovely sight and remind me that existence can be hidden.

The snowdrops that emerge in spring are a lovely sight and remind me that existence can be hidden.

The Nature of Existence

The nature of existence is still a puzzle for many people, though some have found a view that appeals to them and that they believe is true. Science, philosophy, and religion attempt to inform us about life, death, and what happens after death. I find some of their ideas a fascinating possibility, others interesting but in my opinion unlikely to be real, and some ridiculous.

Continuous Existence for Animals

I believe that if consciousness is continuous and if progress of some type is available after death, these features must be part of nature, using the term in its widest sense, and they must apply to all of us. Logically, they should apply to other animals as well, I have no doubt that if I survive as "me" after death, other animals will as well, including my pets.

What About Lower Life Forms?

I do admit that when we consider the so-called "lower" life forms, including the less advanced invertebrates, microscopic creatures, and single-celled ones, the idea of continuous existence may seem strange and unbelievable. We still don't know everything about cells or about simpler creatures, however. They may be more complex than we realize. The question about continued existence for the cells in our body, plant cells, and the plants themselves may have occurred to some people.

Some theories of existence attempt to account for the problems described above. One says that incarnation is a chance for us to explore the possibilities experienced by different forms of life. Another says that all life forms are aspects of the same being. Some people may object to this idea because it means that evil as well as goodness is part of the universal being.

Further Evolution

I don't believe that my pets will remain in their earthly state after death, assuming we all survive the event. In addition, we may not be the most advanced being in the universe or the multiverse (the multiple universes that some scientists believe exists). We also can't assume that we are the most advanced being that could exist and that we don't change after death. We may continue our evolution in spirit form.

The idea of continuous evolution might help anyone who is appalled by the thought that those who have led an evil life continue to survive after death. An evil human is certainly hateful and appalling, but it's possible that biological or social problems contributed to their personality and behaviour while they were in human form.

The poem below is dedicated to my relatives and pets (mammals and birds) that have passed on as well as the dead bird that I discovered in my garden.

The dead bird  in my garden

The dead bird in my garden

You Died Today

You died today.

I hope it happened quickly,

as you searched for sustenance

in the branches of the tree,

but perhaps you felt the pain

of something strange and frightening

that took your life away.


Did you sense the eager spring

before the moment came,

the spring flowers blossoming,

the energy of fresh green leaves

and catkins opening,

the surge of life awakening,

and activity after dormancy?

Do you still exist in some reality

or in some other form

of conscious energy?

Will we join you one day,

as well as those we knew and loved

a joyful reunion

within our name for All That Is?

I photographed your body

then left it to nourish life.

I meant no disrespect.

You have no need of flesh

that could help those in need.

You have left your recent home,

perhaps to enter a different world

more meaningful than life.

© 2022 Linda Crampton

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