Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The Great, Long Song (reprint)
My mornings have music of their own. There are the silent melodies – the hush of predawn, the tiptoe of light, the fading darkness - sounds my ears cannot hear. There is the noise the grass makes, stretching, and the sound the dew makes, falling. There is the joyous sound of the sun bouncing up over the horizon and of the mist rising from the surface of the pond. In summer, flowers lift their faces to the light, leaves stir, clouds float, all seemingly silent, all part of the great song that has no beginning or end. Then comes the audible music - the first tentative birdsong, the crowing of a rooster, the whoosh of early traffic, the barking of a dog, the slamming of a door. Warm weather bees buzz, insects whine. WInter flakes rustle as they fall. There are small forest scurryings and squirrels chatter high in the treetops. The day-song has begun.
There are snowy mornings like today when light creeps into the darkness like a single, small chime rather than a full-concert sunrise. Falling snow sounds like a sleeping baby's breath, a small, nearly imperceptible sigh as billions of flakes drift and settle. Rainy mornings, on the other hand, are drum recitals, tapping feet and fingers on roof and windowpane, water music with rhythm. Sounds are muted, sibilant. Rain patters, sloshes, burbles, splashes, washes clean. It gushes down drainpipes, surges over stones, streams down roadsides. Rainy days are not silent; the refrain beats on the roof of the world. Only the end of a storm is signaled with silence, the rests between the beats, the ceasing of the drum.
Afternoon music is the noise of living. It is car horns and dump trucks and sirens wailing. It is men shouting, children laughing, women talking, dogs barking, vendors selling, voices bargaining, couples arguing, bells clanging, wind blowing, birds calling, planes droning. It is phones ringing and radios blaring. It is joy and sorrow, blessing and curse, trying and failing and winning and losing, all loose and careening in the frantic hours of daylight. It is jazz and be-bop, hip-hop and boogie-woogie.
Late in the afternoon, the din begins to subside. Dissonance segues into harmony, the mid-day jazz mellows. Late afternoon symphonies are full of tranquil notes that slow the movements, soothe the tempers. The light itself changes. Gone is the high-noon heat. Summer shadows lengthen, crickets serenade the twilight, frogs begin their evening chorus. Winter dusk falls like a purple cloak spread over the land. The sun sets to a majestic overture of silence, drawing the colors of the sunlight hours about itself in splendid stillness, as if the day itself is pausing to draw breath.
The earth, too, is a living song. It is the keening of hawks, the chatter of bare branches in the wind, the murmur of water, the multitude of human prayers and praises; we are all part of the great, long song.
Reprinted for Magpie 48 prompt