There is a nugget of time between the last grip of night and the first flush of dawn when the trees erupt in birdsong. As the inky dark dissolves into pale gold and the grey trees unfurl their green, the day inhales the morning and the breath is greeted with jubilation. The exuberant strains are muted by the bulwarks and buttresses of civilization – walls and windows, street sounds and sleepers – and yet, wherever they roam, these feathered heralds rise to usher in the day as if it were again the first of all days.
In the first week of this new year, I slept under whistling pines and acacia trees on a lonely hill south of the Big City. Though I could not see them, shielded as I was by nylon and netting, the birds enveloped me in a magnificent chorus. This was more than welcome party. This was an army. A musical multitude. It is no exaggeration to say that the song exploded around me like a mighty wave surging through the dam of night that rushes forward until it eases to a gentle flow: a river reclaiming its banks. Lying there, I did not think. I only listened in wordless wonder.
In these mornings, I think of the simplicity of hope. Hope says of the Day, “There you are. I have been waiting for you.” No matter how long or dark the night, no matter what sorrows were spoken by Yesterday or what woes are whispered by Tomorrow, Hope looks toward the dawn and simply welcomes Today.
So I said to my soul, why do we sleep? Why do we face the night with silent lips and lidded eyes. Turn! Rise and greet Today. Sing! The joy is in the song.