I awoke in the middle of the night to hear a bird singing somewhere in the marsh near my house. I stood at the window, feeling the moist air of a fog that had rolled in, as if the night found a way to reach into my bedroom. I stood listening for a time. What prompted him to sing, alone with no answering calls? What had awoken him from his midnight slumber? What tale did he have to sing of in all this darkness?
The song was sweet, singular and piercingly clear in the silence. A note that seemed to carry great distances and linger well past its owner’s tongue. It was not plaintive in the least, but rather joyful sounding to my ear.
Something about his singing affected me deeply. I remained at the sill, the mystery of many things floating about me on each call. I could not sing back to him in song, but I felt my spirit reach out, as if I were a fellow bird awake and delighted to hear the voice of my brother amongst the cattails.
We sleep and for us the world disappears, as if it too, has fallen off to sleep. Yet, we are immersed in a mystery of life that continues to swirl all around us even as our minds drift in a dreamy state. There are two worlds, one night and one day. Each a vessel for some part of us. One conscious and possibly more concrete, the other subconscious with edges that are more than a little vague.
His call comes, feeling slightly closer now and I wonder again what had awaken him? Was it his birdsong that had awaken me, or had some other mystery drawn me out of my slumber and to the windowsill? Or are he and I tethered together in a midnight mystery we are sharing in, rather than I merely witnessing in these dark hours?
Many poets speak to this mystical hour. Rumi compelled us to rise and embrace what such calls before the dawn have to give us. There is mystery afoot in this gentle breeze that moves the fog past my window. Love and light, it seems, in each call of my night bird. Maybe this is what touches us so deeply about McCarthy’s lyrics to Blackbird:
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
I awoke in the middle of the night to hear a bird singing somewhere in the marsh near my house. Joyfully, I arose and have not slept again since.
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