Saturday, March 7, 2009


I woke groggy this morning, my mind fuzzy from lack of sleep. It was 6:30, earlier than I ever wake, but I had a shift. For a short while after snoozing my alarm, all was silent. Then one bird took up the call. And the call was Beethoven.
I thought I was hearing things at first. Could some warbler outside my apartment really be singing the opening notes of Beethoven's 5th? Was it possible that the fauna of east Tennessee was as cultured as the human residents? The bird repeated his call: dah dah dah drrraaaaaaaaaah, dah dah. The long note was trilled, and those famous thirds, modulated just as if the sheet music was in the bird's nest, were repeated. I didn't move, laying in stunned silence. Dah dah dah drraaaaaaaaaahhh, it sang. Silence. Dah dah dah drraaaah.
Soon, another bird took up its call, something cackled like the voice of an old woman who has smoked for fifty years. Something of the corvus family. Then another, this time a sparrow. Another warbler. By the time I stepped out of the shower, a cacophony of birdsong. Almost an hour passed before the sounds of human stirring interjected into the symphonic natural.
As I left the apartment and headed for the car, the sunlight still soft and muted by the night's remaining moisture, the woods were shouting with life. A veritable seige army had descended upon this little piece of land, taking up the war cry to end all war cries. Good God, were mornings always like this, everything alive and calling out to remind the world of its life?
The clouds, high and frosted, clothed the sun in a fleece blanket. Fog, thin and chilly, still filled Bethel Valley. Despite the latent moisture, colors were deeper than they have been all winter; greens and yellows and purples budding in the growing warmth. As I drove, something stirred in my soul, something which has been dormant for a long while. It didn't disappear even as I contemplated it - only when I tried to hold it, did it slip through my fingers.

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