Late winter in sunny Arizona finds the air filled with the harmonies of birds, sunshine, and warm breezes scented with orange blossoms and flowers. Myriad species of winged visitors bask in the near-perfect temperatures, their feathered throats overflowing with the melody of thankfulness for sunlight, warmth, provision and beauty.
As night falls, their songs evolve into a literal symphony. Settling into nests high above the threat of a stray cat, they preen and sing before settling into silence and sleep.
Except for one lone bird.
For the past few nights, this winged rebel has defiantly trilled a solo through the darkness, its song piercing the night. And my sleep.
While its companions slumber, this tiny bird fills the silence with a song as big as the night. It trills. Chirps. Sings. Its solo performance is compelling. I can’t help but listen from my bed as the music from this tiny being serenades the stillness.
Why does this lone bird sing in the darkness, when no one else is singing?
Is the still of the night the only time its tiny voice can be heard – the only time when the other voices can’t drown it out? Does it sing to calm its own dread of the darkness that has fallen? Is the beautiful melody it offers a defiant contrast to the danger, injustice and fear in the world around it? Or is it, simply, a melody of praise to the Almighty, overflowing from a grateful heart that offers thanks for the shelter and warmth of a feathered nest?
The nighttime soliloquy of this winged friend has robbed me of my sleep, but has given me considerable food for thought. In its voice, I am reminded of the power a single voice has to create beauty. Inspire. Challenge. Sooth. Calm. Renew. Reclaim. Reignite.
So, sing. Pierce the darkness with an unrelenting melody. Sing. Be the lone voice, if necessary. Sing. Keep those who would slumber unaware, awake and alert. Sing. Be the voice. Break the silence. Bring the beauty. Sing.
As the dawn breaks, I hear a winged chorus of harmony joining my little bird, rejoicing that darkness has past. The light shines once again.
And me? I’m rubbing the sleep from my eyes and putting my feet firmly on the floor. A new day awaits. There’s a new song to sing. And I, for one, am determined to sing it.