It is morning: after the first stir, before the second alarm. The window is open. I have been reading, but now I lie still, wondering at the chorus of voices from those whose work begins much earlier than mine.
I sort out the many separate songs and wait for the names to come, but there are few. The clay-coloured sparrow, of course: an un-birdlike buzz, so much less musical than the rest, and yet I cherish that voice as one that I can always name. There are several lovely melodies, captivating while I listen, but indescribable and even beyond recollection just a few moments later. One keeps ending with a suspiciously familiar chirp, and I wrestle with the startling idea that it might be the voice of a plain old house sparrow. There is a yellow warbler - "sweet, sweet, sweet, please some more sweet" - that one I know. Up front and insistent, over and over, there is an emphatic little song that rises repeatedly to a higher and louder tone. I want to picture the bird stamping his tiny foot as he sings, but that would make him tippy, so instead I imagine him beating his wings against his body in time with his tirade. There comes a snatch of familiar tones - is that a robin? Out beyond it all, when I listen for it, I hear the beloved tune of a meadowlark, the song that everyone knows.
Why that song? Why, with so many songs rippling by unnamed, why do we know that one?
I suppose it returns to us early in the spring, before the chorus becomes overwhelming. And it rings out to us often from a fence post or a power pole, out in the wide fields where the songs are fewer.
I hope someone can tell me who that emphatic little singer might be. If I could learn just one more name today...
2 months ago