Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cheery Midnight Chirping

Lately, the birds around our home have been cheerily chirping at midnight. I can't recall this happening before, but perhaps I just didn't pay attention; though as loud as the birds are chirping these nights, it would be difficult to not notice. What to make of this unexpected, but delightful occurrence? Bird enthusiasts and scientists have several ideas, but I like to think of their midnight chirping as a metaphor for hope.

The first time I remember actually being aware of birds chirping was when I was about four years old. It was Easter morning, and I awoke to find my mother and uncle hiding Easter eggs and baskets. I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep so that I wouldn't spoil the surprise, and that's when a chorus of bird songs burst into my consciousness. I was enchanted. They sounded so happy, and ever after when I heard birds chirping during the day, I felt joy and hope like I did on that Easter morning.

In my city days, however, I rarely heard birds chirping at all. The city noises robbed me of that pleasure. But, in my rural days, which thankfully have been my reality for the last thirty years, I have heard birds chirping all day long but not at night. The music of the nights, until recently, has been provided solely by singing frogs looking for mates.

So, what to make of this new (to me) phenomenon of the birds chirping at midnight? The surprisingly cheery and unexpected night time chirping is teaching me to look to the future with anticipation, just as the birds seem to be chirping their anticipation of the approaching day with its promise of light and warmth. Often at night, our burdens seem to overwhelm us, and it is hard to see any positive future. We forget that the sun will rise again in our lives. Yes, there may be rainy days first, but the sun eventually makes an appearance. The birds chirping at midnight remind me of this, and just as their morning chirping did on that long ago Easter morning, their cheery midnight chirping fills me with joy and hope as I nod off to sleep anticipating a new day.

Take care,


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  1. Kate -- Your words above remind me of lyrics from Don McLean's Winterwood:

    "The birds like leaves on Winterwood,
    Sing hopeful songs on dismal days.
    They've learned to live life as they should.
    They are at peace with natures ways.

    You are as natural as the night,
    And all that springs from you is good.
    And the children born beneath your light,
    Are like the birds on Winterwood."

    Cheers, Kerry Swanson

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