Coffee.  Couch.  Silence.  Glow of the woodstove.  “4 AM writing doesn’t get much better than this,” I think. “I am blessed.”

I’m sad when the wood stove shuts down for the season.  I’m losing an old friend.

“Bye,” he says.  “I’m packing up, going South till fall.  Gonna grow a few oranges, ruin some lawns, cause heatstroke during school break…”  His ideal summer.

“Have a good vacation.  See you when you get back.”  He grabs a matchbook and shoves off.  The last seven or eight logs sit in a pile, half country decoration, half awaiting his return.

It’s May, almost June.  Windows open.  4AM.  I sit down to write.

Coffee.  Couch.  No silence.  Loud, loud, loud!

Bird season.  Hitchcock’s creatures have woken the boy.  I put him back to bed.  “It’s my writing time,” I say.  “It’s too early for you to be up.”

Coffee.  Couch…  I can’t focus.  It’s too loud.  “What’s going on out there?”

I go to shut the windows.  It’s noisy, sticky, damp.

I stop.  I listen.

There are at least a dozen different chirps, tweets, whistles, crows, and calls.  Each bird sings it’s own solo in morning’s chorale, oblivious of the others competing for the spotlight.  It’s an orchestra tuning, getting ready to play, with every member on a different page of the score.

Thwap.  A bird flies into the window.  He does this every day, sometimes twice.

“Percussion section,” I think.   Kamikazi bird shakes it off and takes his place, waiting for Mother Nature to raise her baton.

I sit.  I drink coffee.  I try to write.  The boy returns.

“Go back to bed.  It’s 5 AM!”

“It’s too loud!” he says. “And it’s light out!”  The sun plays tricks on us, I tell him. It’s been getting light earlier and early each day.

“Back to your room!”

I sit.  I drink coffee.  I try to write.  He’s right.  It is too loud.  I can’t get a decent thought on the page.  It will be a nonproductive morning, nothing to show on the page.

The lights flicker.  The orchestra’s finished tuning.  The first chair crow caws.  The morning dove coos.  Mother Nature taps the podium twice.

The first movement of Hitchcock’s orchestra has begun with me in the front row.

I listen to the best of the best in all their glory, playing a symphony never to be repeated, written just for me, with an option for an encore. Tomorrow.

Same time.  Same place.  Open the windows.  Open the heart.  Enjoy the show.   Sit and enjoy or let it be a score for the 4AM stories.

I am blessed.

I wonder how the wood stove is holding up.  Record heat?  I haven’t checked.  I peel one of his oranges and sit back down to enjoy the show–HItchcock’s orchestra is the miracle of spring.


[Photo credit: Joel Sheffield “How to Draw Angry Birds.”  via YouTube]

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