I got up a little after 5:00 in the morning. My window was open, and the air was cool and damp. I felt the anxiety and fear that sometimes greet me when I wake. I was still tired and wanted to stay in bed, but remnants of my dreams kept me from going back to sleep and finally pulled me up.
I listened for birds at my window as I got dressed. Not a sound, not even a car passing . And then I went outside with Bella, my border collie, to walk in the dark. I heard birds by the time I reached the streetlight by my house. At first just sporadic chirping of robins, then their rhythmic singsong.
At 5:32, I heard the sharp vocalization of the first cardinal. Song sparrows came in at 5:53, crows in the distance at 5:57, doves at 6:00, sunrise less than half an hour away.
And the sky grew lighter, and the sound increased around me. On the empty streets robins, bold with lust, chased each other in the twilight, seeming to me like startled crabs racing across the hard sand of the receding ocean tide.
By 6:10 I realized that the cardinals and sparrows and doves were so loud I could no longer hear the robins. And I was aware then that the worst of the night’s phantoms had been sung away. The sinking feeling in my chest lightened, and my breathing deepened, my concerns washed in rhythms of the chorus.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of late spring. In the meantime, to cure the morning blues, try a walk before sunrise.