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Magical music in the March nights

The past couple of weeks, at night, just around this time, 10:15 p.m., my home is quiet, I’ve hopefully turned the computer off, and I’m sitting, perhaps reading, or paying a bill or two, maybe just petting a cat. Winding down from the day and sometimes, and I’m not proud of this, thinking about tomorrow with a grim “Geez, how can I get everything that needs to be done, done?” kind of attitude.

But then there are these birds.

These birds making magic in the March nights.

These birds, I don’t know what kind, calling to each other from trees separated by the field adjacent to my home. The songbirds, I guess, calling, and responding, sending messages of I don’t know what to one another. And my attitude, if sagging, lifts, from nothing more than the sound of their song in the night.

Their songs are hypnotic. Random and changing calls and whistles and sometimes low-throated trilling. Hypnotic, not in any urgency, not in repetition, but maybe from simple joy? The joy of signing whatever music comes to them?

I don’t know. But I want to know.

I go outside to listen. I stand still in my front lawn and look to the west, across the dark field that must be a kind of auditorium for the mice or moles, I’m sure, and feral cats out on recon. I look over toward the pond and try to figure out where they are. Where are the trees from which they conduct themselves in symphony?

I hold my breath to hear better.

I smile at their faith. Faith that they will be heard. Faith that their music will carry across some bit of distance. Faith that the sound they make from deep within their small bodies will carry out into and through the night air and reach the ears of another like themselves, and resonate. Faith that they will receive a return call from some other bird, in some other tree, unseeable in the dark night, but there, nonetheless, singing precisely that same song in response.

I can’t imagine that faith, really. But I want to. The faith it takes to sing in the darkness. Through the middle of the night to dawn. From a solitary branch in a tree, alone, unknowing if, or when, you’ll be heard.

What must it feel like, then, to hear a song in response that matches your own? What is it like that first moment, that first second, when the return call reaches your bird ears? Do you leave your perch and wing across the dark distance to light on another branch that holds that one bird in the night that is singing the same song as yours? Or do you stay where you are and just keep singing? Content with the shared melody you both are making?

Sometimes in the early hours, the 4 ams or 530s, I wake from dreaming to hear the bird songs still lilting across the landscape of my neighborhood. I strain to hear them from my bed, or sometimes walk to my living room window and open it wide to listen closely.

I feel inexplicably moved to my core. I am not a sentimental woman. But these March songs are reaching my heart. I shake my head slightly with a puzzled mix of admiration and just a little bit of jealousy. I marvel at how they are still singing, so many hours after I went to bed.

My eyes are fighting me; but I want to listen just a bit more before the drowsy lure of sleep and dreaming pull me away from this gorgeousness.

Wanting more — without sounding melodramatic, but knowing I will — of these magical, precious-sounding birds that don’t even know I’m alive but that make me feel more alive in the dead of night than I sometimes think possible by day.

Posted on March 12th, 2009Comments RSS Feed
2 Responses to Magical music in the March nights
  1. John W. Perkins
    March 13, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Tweet, tweet ?

  2. I was just waiting for that John…Great writing MC!


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