Backyard concerto tribute to life
The birds were going crazy with their twittering tweets, chirps and trills. The cooing of a mourning dove underscored the drumming of a lone woodpecker. It seemed each feathered friend was trying to outdo the other with its own solo and the sounds reverberated in a rowdy crescendo backyard symphony.
This spirited banter jostled the airwaves amply enough to wake me from a sound sleep. I looked at the clock. It was 4:23 — in the morning — as in a.m., not p.m. I know what they say about the early bird, but 4:23 a.m. is a little too wee for me. Even roosters know enough to wait until dawn to awaken the farm.
Still the fervor and celebratory chattering of the birds in my yard at 4 each morning is impressive — albeit not fully appreciated by most humans living in my house. The birds are celebrating the weather and anticipating the sunrise and the business of preening their feathers and splashing in the birdbath and padding their nests and laying and hatching their eggs and hunting for worms and feeding their birdlets and giving flight lessons and dive bombing the cats and eagerly welcoming all the other everyday tasks at hand (or wing, as the case may be).
They are embracing their essence in a giddy birdliness and it’s infectious. I want to be like them!
I’m not saying I want to be a bird. I couldn’t be. I can’t fly. I don’t even have wings.
But the joy, the ultimate true JOY they express at the normal elements in their lives (at 4:00 a.m.) is notable to the sleepiest of the most sleepy. The tweeters in my common, ho-hum backyard are birds— average, ordinary, suburban birds. They’ve been birds their entire life. They could very well choose to take flying and sing-songing and sunrises for granted. But they don’t. Instead, they fill the air with their predawn concert each morning, because they can.
They are birds and that’s what birds do. (Well, that and poop on cars.)
And even though I’m still trying to finish a good dream in those wee, pre-daybreak hours, I leave the windows open so I can hear them each (early, early) morning because sleep is one thing and exuberance with the business of life is another.
Imagine experiencing authentic joy at the promise of each new day. Of being so in love with the sunrise that you feel compelled to sing about it at the loudest decibel level in your range. Of flying across the country on your own feather power because nature tells you that’s the way it should be.
Birdbrain is not typically interpreted as a positive descriptor, but I think maybe that should change. While birds may or may not be the brightest bulbs in the backyard, they’ve got some things figured out. Like loving life anytime of the day, but especially at 4 in the morning.
Intelligent or not, they are an inspiration. Not only do they refrain from hitting the snooze button, they are joyous about their awakening. I love that. (The worms probably do not.)
I also love that by the time I’m ready to get out of bed at 6:30 a.m. the backyard is silent. At first, I thought maybe their joy of dawn’s early light had been subdued, but I realized that wasn’t logical; by 6:30 when the rest of the world is getting out of bed, the birds are probably napping.
Who can blame them?
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.