Wishful Singing

Posted: January 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

When I awoke this morning, it was not only to the light filtering through the shades into my room, but to a familiar sound, a sound of another season, a sound out of place. The rising and descending tone came from the woods, the voice of a lone bird. It was immediately familiar, the morning whistle of spring.

This bird, however, was not accompanied by any chorus of friends, no antiphonal echo from the far side of the ridge, passing the word from branch to branch. He alone would sing.

The fact that his was the only voice to dare such a song did not inhibit the effort or somehow reduce the volume. He wasn’t merely trying it out to see if it might work; this was the unreserved voice of spring sung in late winter. After the silence of cold and snow, the stillness of animals retreating to their hidden burroughs and dens and nests, this sound shattered the air like an opera star singing full voice in a library. Shush, the people say.

Before I left the house today I looked at the thermometer, checked the weather report and then opened the closet door, surveying a variety of options. There were the big insulated parka, the black overcoat, the checkered scarf from Scotland. Would I need earmuffs or gloves, a hat to sit on my head?

For some reason I reached for one particular jacket, the lightest one in the row. Thin as a windbreaker it could scarcely keep the wind at bay, much less hold in a measure of warmth. I slid into it like someone heading south, to the Bahamas, ready to lounge around on the deck of the cruise ship or walk the steps of muggy jungle ruins. But when the cold air hit my face and crept inside the thin walls of the garment, winter said that it was not finished with me yet.

And I said that I didn’t care, that I’m dressing for the future, issuing an invitation for them to come ahead of schedule. It was hope, I suppose, in which I dressed myself, like a call in the woods that seems untimely, beckoning with a song, like the end is almost here.

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