It’s so quiet I can hear myself breathe. Then he begins to sing. Piercing and long are his calls. The eastern horizon is but a paler shade of midnight blue, hardly an inkling of sunrise, but he knows. I listen without moving. I can’t see him, but he sounds like a Western Wren or possibly a Yellowthroat. I wonder how he knows in all this dark. More curious is how the others remain quiet for at least fifteen to twenty minutes. This time gap is as consistent as the sun. It’s as if everyone is in the silent awe of daybreak. Not a sound, not a tweet, not a bark. Just that single, piercing note to call us all to the eastern alter. So I pray. I fix upon the distant horizon and I talk to the spirits about all I have to be grateful for. Such wonder fills me that I then realize how he knows, but more importantly, why he sings.
Bear Creek Lake, Lakewood, Colorado: Photo by Noelle
The trail is long as a river in the grass. Sand lilies grace the trail dwarfed now and then by soapweed yucca. In this vastness, the short and tall grasses each belong to me, as surely as the wild sky. Storm clouds gloom, but the rainbow only laughs. The sun has broken through and crickets sun themselves on drying stones. They snap and sing, flying just ahead of me into the sagewort and buffalo grass. I hear the mountain plover and the meadowlark close and far, but they are nothing more than flickers in my peripheral vision. So much moves in this rolling prairie, but always sees me before I see it. Still, I do not hunger for company in such a crowd of scrappy rabbits and field mice. If I keep my pace, I may find the pot of gold before the light winks night.
Out of Stone: Photo by Noelle
Out of earth, sand and stone
Deep roots cling
Harsh be the wind
Stripping at bark
Leaving your limbs
Dig deep is your nature or surely be
Torn free of the darkest
Give all in the sun or wither
To bare in crevices tight and
Your beauty grows yet only the jay
Knows of how you’ve been bent and
Seagulls at Johnson Lake: Photography by Noelle
“He spoke of very simple things- that it is right for a gull to fly, that freedom is the very nature of his being, that whatever stands against that freedom must be set aside, be it ritual or superstition or limitation in any form.
“Set aside,” came a voice from the multitude, “even if it be the Law of the Flock?”
“The only true law is that which leads to freedom,” Jonathan said. “There is no other.”
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
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