Thursday, May 14, 2015

Waking up with birds

I have to sleep with the window open. It's not negotiable, even in the bleak midwinter when it's 10 above zero -- my window WILL be open, if only a finger's-width. In the summer, I love to hear the night-sounds: crickets, dogs barking now and then, and the occasional falling trill of a screech-owl. This is my bedtime music.

Usually a good sleeper, I've been sleeping very lightly of late. To make up for that, I've been trying to actually go to bed earlier -- 10:30 or 11:00 means early to me, since I'm a real night-owl. My ideal schedule would be bed at 2:00, up at 9:00.

My sleep troubles may have something to do with the early light, as the days grow longer approaching the Summer Solstice. This morning I woke up at 4:30. The square window opening was growing brighter by the minute. I groaned under my breath (so as not to wake J.), rolled over, and tried to go back to sleep.

It was not to be. The minute I had settled down again, a bird began to sing. It was 4:45.

Just one lonely bird, who sounded like he was right outside my window. I love birds, and I can identify by sight most of the birds that frequent my six feeders. But I can't identify them by their songs (except for the screech-owl, whom there's no mistaking). Every time I think I have a song memorized, it goes straight out of my head.

This lonely bird continues singing to himself for a good five minutes. Suddenly, his song was taken up by a more distant bird of the same type, probably a couple of backyards away, and the two continued to sing back and forth to each other.

Around 5:00, other birds began waking up. Soon the dawn chorus was going full-blast in my backyard. Alto birds, soprano birds, a couple of lower voices, too: the choir was all there.

I could have shut the window and (perhaps) had enough silence to sleep in. But, all in all, listening to birds is not a bad way to start the day.

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