It’s the winter solstice, and this morning I was awakened by a bird singing outside my window. This has been going on for awhile now, a couple of weeks at least. A lone bird in our neighborhood has been singing at dawn, and usually earlier, despite the fact that this isn’t the season for birdsong.
I’m used to a chorus of birdsong waking me before dawn in the springtime, when the birds are singing out to find their mates, build their nests, participate in the budding life of spring. They are so loud, in fact, that I have to use earplugs if I want to sleep any later than 3 AM.
But today is the winter solstice, and it’s not the season for birdsong.
When I first heard this lone bird singing its chirping and cascading song (not a song I am familiar with) I was disturbed. “There you go,” I thought. “Things are so messed up with the climate now that even the birds are confused about what season it is.”
But this morning as I lay in bed, having been stirred from a very interesting dream—something about a turn from the age old story of conflict to a new way of nonviolence—I wondered if perhaps this bird was here on a mission. Perhaps it had taken it upon itself to come into this city, into this season of darkness when things seem so despairing on the planet, and sing a song for the human heart. A song that could stir us into remembrance that the new life of spring is on its way, even though we can’t see it.
Maybe, I thought, this little bird was even an angel donning avian form. Since we humans haven’t, for the most part, gained the ability to detect the song of angels, this angel had chosen to take on a form familiar to us, to sing something we know how to hear to stir us awake with the sound of beauty in the darkest time of the year.
It can be hard sometimes to trust that the planet is turning toward the light of understanding, that we are in fact awakening when so many things seem to suggest the opposite is true. In those moments of doubt we need to hear a song of promise pouring through our window.
Yet it can also be a challenge being the one singing of hope and joy when the circumstances don’t seem to call for it. We may wonder at times if we’re confused, if we’re deluding ourselves, singing about something that seems to have so little evidence in the material world to support it.
But, like that bird outside my window, we sing our song of gladness and joy not because the circumstances warrant it but because the song is in us. The song is us, and to silence it would be to silence our very souls.
And now it is midday. The solstice has just occurred. And I wonder if perhaps it is our willingness to be the “crazy” bird singing in the darkness, embodying the spring on the cusp of winter, that turns the planet toward the Light.
Anastasia Wirick says
So beautiful and inspiring! I’m with you….this is the awakening! Thank you 😇
Joe Irwin says
Love this piece… It reminds me of the quote on one of our CCM bookmarks: “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings, when the dawn is still dark.” (Tagore)
Bev Roberts says
Darkness can help make “seeds” of light more apparent. Learning to notice the light in dark times can be healing/supportive.
I wonder if your bird is a mockingbird. They are known for the behavior you describe so beautifully.
Rob McClellan says
Judith Dutton says
Such a beautiful image, i could hear your angel-bird singing to you. Im someone who stops and talks to the birds – & other critters – who call out to me. I know they bring me wisdom that cant be shared in words.
Roger Mock says
I love your message, Patricia, and it reminded very much of this little known song by Mindy Jostyn, who did backup for Carly Simon. (Sadly, she passed from cancer at age 48 in 2005.) She wrote this song with Carly’s frequent collaborator, Jacob Brackman. It’s called Only a Song:
Yes I think we are the bird-s😊 just had to think of Cat Stevens song… Morning has broken like the first morning, Blackbird has spoken like the first bird , Grace to the morning , grace to the….. I will look it up to find
the lyrics. Love what you wrote💛☀️🕊 Didn’t the Lenapis also say when the 5th crow is coming back, something good is happening…
Sharon Comer says
I too had birdsong on the morning of the solstice just outside my front door. It has been a quiet winter so far but when the birds sang out with such joyful song, I felt they were singing of the return of light to me. It was a welcome sign indeed.
Peace, Love & Joy to all.