Bookended by Song


Every morning this past spring, I would sit in our sunroom eating breakfast and hear the most beautiful birdsong, repetitious and sweet. It was fun to quietly determine why the bird was singing. Perhaps the day was full of promise--cool and sunny. Maybe she had just laid her eggs and was congratulating herself on a job well done. Or maybe it was a male robin hoping for a girlfriend. Isn’t it funny how we tend to humanize animals and attribute all kinds of thoughts and feelings to them! Maybe there was NO reason to be singing. That’s just what birds do.


One thing I really needed to do was to find out what kind of exotic bird this was that had such a mesmerizing effect on me. I recorded the song on my phone and then asked Google to identify it. Can you believe it was a common American robin? I had no idea such a common bird (at least in spring in Michigan) had such a magnificent song!


I re-entered my day carrying my infamous task list. There wasn’t much on it since I was still recovering from a total knee replacement, but I had set a few goals and was determined to get out of my recliner, head downstairs to my stationary bicycle, make a few phone calls, answer a few emails, fold the laundry and plan dinner. Not too overreaching or overwhelming.


The next morning, I was once again sitting and eating breakfast in the sunroom. At about the same time, I heard the same tune coming from a branch far above our backyard. This happened every morning for quite some time.


One evening, I was sitting at the same breakfast table in the sunroom having a cup of tea, and I once again heard that robin singing…the same song, over and over again. It was dusk. I tried to stop myself from imagining the reason for the evening song. And, as predicted, that same song came my way every evening at dusk for quite a few weeks.


What a wonderful way to start and end the day! What if…what if I could do the same thing? Start my day (at dawn and still in bed) singing quietly or thanking God silently for the day ahead and then end it similarly? Would it make any difference? A day bookended in gratitude.


No, I didn’t do any kind of scientific study on the matter, but I did notice that I saw things differently when I remembered to be grateful or joyful at the beginning and end of every day. I can’t say that I have been consistently doing this, but it does make sense, doesn’t it? It sets the tone for the day. No matter what happens, I can still sing or pray. The end of the day wrapped in song provides a perfect prelude to sleep.


Spring is gone, and summer is in full bloom. The butterfly bushes are attracting, you guessed it, butterflies! The aralia Sun King perennials are being eaten by slugs. The hydrangeas look like they will all be white this year--with a promise of some becoming deep pink in the fall. The songs I heard in the dawn and at sunset are now silenced and the space now taken over by cicadas, crickets and fireflies, with a few tree toads carrying the bass. The blue jays are squawking noisily, fighting over this and that.


I miss the robin, the common American robin with the Bach-inspired tunes (yes, that’s a stretch!).


Though I miss them for this season, I do hope I will remember the lesson they taught me--beginning and ending the day in gratitude and song. Days bookended with wonder, praise and gratitude!