Five a.m. The birds come then, don’t they; they always do–and I watch. It’s not that their arrival is so unique. I see birds at other times of the day. It’s just that, when they come at this time, they bring the solitude with them: that exceptional soundlessness that cocoons our lives in a vault of early morning quiet–but not quite. There are sounds, the sounds of the world waking up. There’s the rustling of squirrels in the nearby brush for example, the wind in the leaves outside my bedroom window–and, sometimes, there’s the steady drip of condensation melting from the eaves, like the gentle easing of our lives, fading from us like a dream pushed quietly aside.
It’s a spiritual thing really; a half-naked timelessness that transcends our mortal existence and links us to something more durable than ourselves. It’s the totality of wonder that surrounds us–the baby’s gentle cooing at its mother’s side, the dogs sleeping quietly at our feet, the day positioning itself stoically for sunrise.
And then it comes: car doors banging, the sound of motors turning, breakfast pans banging against metal grates. Mothers and fathers chase their children into the morning mist; rush them into cars and take them to school. Parents speed to work. The day begins.
And, at that point, it might as well be mid-day for the solitary world is broken. But for a time it was there; we saw it and, at five a.m. we felt it. We let it fold over our faces like freshly washed linen, a dream pushing the boundaries of our existence and bringing us closer to the cosmos. And sometimes, if we’re exceptionally quiet, we can look into the face of God and see him peering back–into the eternal depths of our souls…and making a place for us…in His universe.