Aubade The birds are raising happy hell - Frederick Eckman March 1st, 6:00 A.M., a sparrow starts his racket on the sill nearby our bed. No subtlety, but from the start, insistent, shrill, a one-man-band that soon will grow as more and more performers come, approximating music. Things devolve to an unruly scrum instead of orchestra, each male demanding to be soloist with alternating repertoires -- To rivals, Beat it! Scram! Get lost, and stay the hell away! To females, Baby, Baby, Baby, please! The winner struts upon the ledge as losers scold from nearby trees. His song will change when a mate is found and a nest is filled with eggs to brood, the noise gaining a treble note as hungry chicks demand their food. Their lives will be uncertain, tracked by wily predators that stalk their daily errands: feral cats, the ever-lurking Cooper’s Hawk, or else torrential rains may sweep their nest from off the sill, put paid to fond parental labors, leaving scattered twigs with nestlings dead. For now, however, they are safe, and every morning, earlier on, we hear their boast, Our tiny lives have made it to another dawn. Awakened from a shortened sleep, as chirps and flutterings begin, you pull the blanket past your head to stuff your ears against the din and groan in protest, Stupid birds! Give it a rest! Oblivious, they sing their matins heartlessly, indifferent to plea or curse. And like the birds’, our humble lives must meet what fate has got in store. One day, this bed will lie unused; this home, our place, know us no more. Across that empty spot will fall the shadow of a raptor’s wing, but now the morning light breaks forth. Wake up, my love. Arise and sing.
Reagan Upshaw lives in a town on the Hudson River 60 miles north of New York City and makes a living as an art appraiser, while gardening and keeping bees.