I hear the thrush singing
in the glowing woods
he is only passing through.
His voice is deep,
then he lifts it until it seems
to fall from the sky.
I am thrilled.
I am grateful.
Then, by the end of morning,
he’s gone, nothing but silence
out of the tree
where he rested for a night.
And this I find acceptable.
Not enough is a poor life.
But too much is, well, too much.
Imagine Verdi or Mahler
every day, all day.
It would exhaust anyone.
~Mary Oliver “In Our Woods, Sometimes a Rare Music ” from “A Thousand Mornings”
What does it say about me that six months ago, in the darkness of December mornings, I was yearning for the early sunrises of June but once I’m well into the June calendar, these early mornings are no longer so compelling? It confirms my suspicion that I’m incapable of reveling in the moment at hand, something that would likely take years of therapy to undo. I’m sure there is some deep seated issue here, but I’m too sleep deprived to pursue it.
My eyes popped open this morning at 4:17 AM, aided and abetted by vigorous birdsong in the trees surrounding our farm house. There was daylight sneaking through the venetian blinds at that unseemly hour as well. Once the bird chorus started, with one lone chirpy voice in the apple tree by our bedroom window, it rapidly became a full frontal onslaught symphony orchestra from all manner of avian life-forms, singing from the plum, cherry, walnut, fir and chestnut. Sleep became irretrievable.
It would be such a poor life without the birdsong.
I remember wishing for early morning birdsong last December when it seemed the sun would never rise and the oppressive silence would never lift. I had conveniently forgotten those mornings a few years ago when we had a flock of over a dozen young roosters who magically found their crows very early in the morning a mere 10 weeks after hatching. Nothing before or since could match their alarm clock expertise after 4 AM. No barbecue before or since has tasted as sweet (apologies to my vegan/vegetarian readers, but too much was too much).
So I remind myself how bad it can really be; this morning’s backyard birdsong was a veritable symphony in comparison.
I already need a nap.
Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
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