Leanne Italie wrote a column in early April in which she reflects that “sound
has become a shared experience, in joy and sadness.” Ambulances,
balcony singing, silence where traffic noise would be expected, church
bells ringing even from atop empty sanctuaries.
And the birds. It seems we are all noticing and talking about the birds. I
know nothing about birds, but I could watch them for hours, and I eagerly
await each year the warm-enough days when I can leave windows open at
night and wake to the birds singing. And this year, studies are showing that
a reduction in ambient noise is making the birdsong more audible.
Maybe we’re also more ready and eager to hear.
I wonder what makes the birds’ songs so comforting and reassuring.
Perhaps they signal life emerging, persistent and stubbornly, out of winter
silence. I’m reminded of the hymn we sang on Easter (In The Bulb There Is
a Flower) and these words: “There’s a song in every silence, seeking word
and melody; there’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and
The Kentucky poet Wendell Berry wrote this little poem in 1997:
Best of any song
is bird song
in the quiet, but first
you must have the quiet.
So I’m pondering again Leanne Italie’s reflection about sound as a shared
experience—in joy and sadness. And about the pairing of song and silence
in the hymn and in Berry’s poem. That’s life, isn’t it? Joy and sadness, song
and silence. As the hymn continues: “From the past will come the future;
what it holds, a mystery, unrevealed until its season, something God alone
I recorded the birds singing this morning. (Hopefully you can hear them,
too, in the attached video.) Even in the rain, their songs are persistent. I
think they are singing of life, in all its mystery.
Will you pray with me?
God, as we move throughout this day, give us enough silence to hear, and
enough song to hope. Amen.