Notes from the Waxhaws

Night songs

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I awoke early this morning at about 2 am. This is becoming a regular habit of  late. After a few hours of sound sleep, I awaken and lay quietly soaking in the sounds of the night. I’m still keeping the windows open at night, at least until the days get uncomfortably hot, and the night air becomes unbearably humid. But even then, I leave the bedroom window open a crack, so that the night songs can still creep in. So I lay in the dark and listen carefully. There’s the hum of a background chorus of crickets and spring peepers. Then, the soloists start making their presence known, beginning with the whip-poor-wills off in the distance with their incessant pining. Some nights I can make out the forlorn hoots of a barred owl in the woods to the south. Lately though, there’s been a solitary mockingbird singing in the night. I did some research on this and found that the only mockingbirds that sing in the darkness are males who don’t yet have a mate. Evidently, there’s no rest for those in desperate need of affection.

I like the way that John O’Donohue , in his book, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, describes the night:

“The world rests in the night. Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure. Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark. Darkness is the ancient womb. Nighttime is womb-time. Our souls come out to play. The darkness absolves everything; the struggle for identity and impression falls away. We rest in the night.”

Somewhat of a ritual has evolved in the last few months in these early hours. When Belle and Tinker (our two Pomeranians) hear me stirring, they will crawl out from under our bed (they like caves), and silently wait until I pick them up and lay them on the bed. Belle will go to the opposite corner of the king-size bed, while Tinker will usually sidle up alongside me.  There we lay listening to the night songs. The dogs are soon asleep, though, and softly snoring. It’s a comforting sound to me during these solitary nights, and it slowly lulls me back to sleep until the morning.

Written by Jim

April 28, 2011 at 12:31 am

Posted in Country Living, Grieving, Nature

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