Sunday, January 20, 2008

Little Birds

Rise up this morning / Smiled with the rising sun
Three little birds / Pitch by my doorstep
Singing sweet songs / Of melodies pure and true
Saying, "This is my message to you."
Singing: "Don't worry 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right." (Bob Marley)

Sunday's are early because Ken gets up for work and even though I try to sleep in, once being-awake has me, all I can do is be awake. So I got up, wandered into the dining room, Duncan at my heels, and sat at the table looking out the window while I waited for the water to come to a boil. 7:30 and already the sun was big and bright so I propped open the patio doors. The air felt good on my face, not cold, not biting, but refreshing, clean. There were no cars on the street so it was nice and quiet, like Sunday mornings should be. The way they are when they're at their best. Duncan stayed close and I reached down to scratch behind his ears in the way he likes. He wasn't quite awake yet, his head low, his paws spread out, his red hair a blanket over my toes. I was thinking it was a good morning for Dave Brubeck. Some mornings are Miles Davis mornings, especially when the sky is dim and low with wet, the air pregnant with mist. But some mornings are Dave Brubeck mornings, the sun perfect for "Blue Rondo A La Turk," or the sky big enough for "Take Five." All those crazy rhythms and sudden bursts of notes are like a celebration of the sunrise, syncopated tributes to morning coming on. Dave Brubeck was invented for mornings the way Chet Baker was made for nights, especially lonely nights, or windy wet nights, or the time just after a soft rain, when the sun is caught low, between the clouds and horizon when the streets reflect the green and red of the traffic signals. I was about to put on "Take Five" when the sweet sound of little birds caught my attention, little birds on the tree just outside my window. Two of them, only a little bigger than my thumb, and the color of cardboard, darting as little birds do, especially on glorious and newly-warm mornings. I haven't heard their voices in so long that I felt like ice must feel when it cracks down the middle. Something in me, some spot I'd forgotten or neglected, opened up and nothing seemed more perfect than the sound of those birds. Even Dave Brubeck would have to agree.

As the morning opened around their song I pulled on my boots, snug and warm, and slipped the leash on Duncan before he'd even realized we were going for a walk, which is the best way to do it. Like a surprise party or something juicy and warm inside a bite of cake, quick and shocking, but the best thing you never thought of. We were out the door and across the street where more little birds moved among the bare branches of the crab apple trees. Duncan cocked his head at them and together we stood and listened, like we'd paid to do it, like it was a concert just for us. And it was just for us, the two of us, out in the cool, bright morning, the taste of Egyptian Licorice tea still on my lips, squirrel and bunny dreams still dancing through Dunc's head. It was a dancing walk, where everything seems easy, like in cartoons, and I wanted so badly for those little birds to perch on my shoulder or alight on my fingers where they could sing right to me.

A day is determined by the quality of its morning. Our morning was glorious. It's an Anything-Can-Happen Day. The best kind of day there is.

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