Sunday, October 08, 2006

Singing at Midnight

A bird sang at midnight last night.

Outside my open bedroom window its incessant happiness worked its way inside the window and pried my eyes gently open.

Was it happiness? I suppose that’s my interpretation of a birds call.

What causes a bird to sing at midnight?

The clock on the wall worked its rhythmic beat in one ear as I lay still in the night.

The bird in the tree wove her song through the remainder of quiet the clock left behind, the vibrancy of her sound mocking the stillness.

I blinked and watched my ceiling fan rotate. The fan cascaded a pattern of nighttime urban light against a dark ceiling, the type visual pattern that owns its own rhythm.

The clock ticked and the fan rotated with the steady beat of electric impulse. A faint cough came from a distant bedroom and a happy bird sang its song at midnight.

My mind skipped from thought to thought like a smooth rock across the surface of water, never sinking into a specific knowing, just skipping along without time to stop; defying the gravity of serious immersion.

In time, like the rock that must ultimately succumb to gravity, my thoughts slowed as well.

I thought about the steady beat of the clock and compared it to the unexpected song of the bird.

The bird sang with consciousness, while the clock worked from electric impulse.

I thought about the steady beat of life, the day to day slog through convention.

I thought about the iconoclasts of our world, the figures that have dared to march out of step.

I thought about Gandhi. I thought about Martin Luther King.

I thought about running full speed down a track at 55 years of age, training as though I were 20, all for the simple joy of running fast.

I thought about the world’s inventors and explorers, those that defied convention and took risks despite the warnings of conventional wisdom, owning the courage to sing at midnight.

A distinct cooling breeze pushed its way through the window and across the sheets of the bed. The clock ticked its steady mechanical rhythm. The fan twirled along in chorus.

The bird sang in counterpoint, a happy melody of defiance to the birds that sing only in the morning.

The rock skipped across more water and I thought about how happy my life has become as I have grown older. I was wide awake when the rock succumbed to gravity. I finally knew, beneath my sheets and in the company of a solitary defiant singer of happy songs, I knew why we must learn to sing at unconventional times.

I felt gratitude for the knowing, and gratitude for all the birds that sing at midnight.


Photo Credit: The baby photo was shot this weekend in the studio by my pro photographer wife (AKA Brown Eyed Girl)


Enemy of the Republic said...

Do you know the poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats. It never fails to move me. Your post made me think of its precious and precarious beauty. I read the poem at my mother's funeral. Download it if you can.

Reach said...

The very way you capture these moments, directs my thoughts of the quality you placed in the reports of a "prior life". I like to think about how your imagination strived for it's input into the straight forward writing of facts and details. I can see an evolutionary change in your writing skills; since I, still a young reader, have first visited your site. Your writings and thoughts successfully convey the eye you use for the life surrounding you and your family; much like the beauty of the eyes of the Brown Eyed Girl displays in her work that you have shared. Thank you


Jenn said...

Ahhh...I remember when my thoughts were like that in the dark of the night. And I long for the time when they are again. I know the time will come again...the time when awake at night doesn't mean looping through the fear of the possibilities of what's to come.

I've learned a new skill though...the skill to calm those thoughts so I may sleep and be ready for the next day.

At the buttcrack of dawn when the little one wakes up. :-) (I had to go and ruin the philosophic flow, didn't I?)

And my new skill - I know it will come in handy again. For I have just today realized that my nights of easy sleep are gone for now. It took me over two years to realize that. I know she'll grow and become a woman...and maybe then restful sleep will be mine again.

But for now and probably for years to come...motherhood beckons...even in the dark of night.

But I remember those nights of the skipping stone thoughts.

Ilias- said...

I finally knew, beneath my sheets and in the company of a solitary defiant singer of happy songs, I knew why we must learn to sing at unconventional times.

I love that part there. Singing at unconventional times.. sounds a lot like marching to our own beat right? I love the visuals you provided and the auditory too. Well-written post, so I've become part of the mood of this odd happy moment that is joyful and introspective, yet sharing with whomever cares to listen. Enjoyed reading. Thanks friend. And also nice baby foot photo, a little pumice and yours can look like that too right? ;^)

Seven said...

I will consider that a compliment, and if not meant that way, I will momentarily believe it is anyway. Thank you.

As always, thank you. I suppose like all things we do and 'enjoy doing' our skills grow as we practice. I appreciate your always being here.

I think you hit on something important about age and the passages we all experience. Enjoy every moment, every second of the little one. You will blink, and it will be gone, I know this.

Always so kind and thoughtful and I thank you. My feet? Gotta be kidding. I have a track runners feet! Many miles and much work.

Molly said...

This is truly lovely Seven. I could see the fan and feel the breeze. I could hear the bird! I love it.

Anonymous said...

As I age, I experience the most incredible things, and so, apparently do you. I love that it takes only a small hiccup in the rhythm of life to impress us and make us consider ourselves and the schema of our existence. Wonderful post.

Rob said...

7, conratulations and thank you for the past year of blogging. I've been impressed and touched by your humour and humility, and it's been the bridge for a lasting friendship. In this one, you've got me guessing which species could be filled with the spirit of song. EOTR, I think is pretty close, but my guess is mockingbird as they do serranade under street lights and full moons. They gather all the songs, and sometimes just quirky noise, they hear in their territories and wrap them all into a joyous, continuous medly, kinda like what your blog is about. And I'm the better for it.

Seven said...

Thank you Molly; really glad you are reading and especially glad you enjoyed it.

I get wiser and happier as I go along. And get this; at age 55 I am getting braces on my teeth next week!....hehe.....I know you are in major transistion right now, so thanks for coming by!

I sort of thought you would know this, being the resident bird expert. In fact there was a full moon this weekend; a rather spectacular one at that.
And of course, Texas is filled with Mockingbirds. There is a huge pecan tree outside my window. I think you nailed this one!
And, Thank You for your very kind words, it has all been MY pleasure including our friendship.

patti_cake said...

I didn't even know birds were awake at midnight.
Your wife is an awesome photog. That baby foot... so darling!

Rick said...

You're getting braces? Now that's bloggy material!

patti_cake said...

OMG I have braces but hope to get them off next year. I remember when I got them I was at my SIL's house and my nephew's little friend stage-whispered "I didn't know old people got braces". Chandler's reply "She's not OLD, she's my Aunt". Way to go Chan!
I bet you'll look adorable Rick!

Seven said...

Did you ever see the movie Bowfinger? Everytime I think about having braces, I think about Eddie Murphy playing the twin brother of the movie star where he turns and grins the big metal mouth of braces and says AWESOME when the girl shows her breasts. HAHAHA, E. Murphy makes me laugh big time. I suppose I can use braces as a comedice prop too! Just make the best of it.....

Rob said...

7, this might mean you have to get a new security clearance for your voice print, 'cause I'll bet it will be slightly different. oops, did I give away something?

Enemy of the Republic said...

It's a compliment. Trust me. I can't wait to see you in braces with that shaved head.

a fish on a bycicle said...


I'm not sure exactly why, but it puts in mind of the scene in the Shawshank Redemption where Andy denies his surroundings to listen to a little Mozart.

Angie said...

Well, I had a comment all ready to write...and then the braces announcement threw me...and I forgot it. Congrats, hon! I'm assuming this is something you've wanted to do for a while.

Seven said...

I do understand that your way of speaking can in fact change with braces, and then again when they come off! As long as I don't sound like Pee Wee Herman I'll accept it.

Thanks again, I am now officialy very flattered, particularly considering your vocation. Thank you.

Praise from the dude I consider the best writer in blogdom is greatly appreciated.

Raised in poverty in my youth. Putting myself through college in my 20's. Building a business and career in my 30's while raising little ones. Putting the same kids through college in my 40's.
Now that I am no longer vain and concerened about what others think, my 50's feeel just right for this. I will become an oficial metal-mouth on October 18th.