It’s silent now, even though I’ve been keeping my ears peeled for it, but the first thing I noticed when I came into the living room and sat down was a bird chirping.
It was probably a sparrow, which I consider so commonplace, yet in the Bible—at least in some English translations—this diminutive brown bird is referred to by name by Jesus himself. The peacock boasts no such attention.
But it’s quiet now, except for the typing of my keyboard. The bird(s)—for there are blue jays, robins, an occasional red-tailed hawk to our delight, and towhees in our courtyard—have settled into their Saturday morning activities, and so have I. Soon, our middle son will come down (or, rather, I will rouse him and then he will come down), and he will shuffle to the couch, fall/roll onto it, and grab a throw-blanket from the headrest and pull it over him like a collapsed tent, sealing himself off from me and everything around him.
(The bird is back. It sounds like a bluejay, but not its standard “jeer,” as birders might refer to the call.)
My son—all three sons, really—come into the living room like I used to come into the kitchen in the mornings growing up. They never come into a quiet room, where sounds outside the room are discernible. Someone is always there first. And even if they did—even as I did then—they are thinking about (1) continuing their sleep, and/or (2) what’s for breakfast. Either fatigue or hunger guides them. Granted, before I heard the bluejay and before I even tried to, my first step was to turn on the kitchen light, drop a Starbucks pod into the Keurig coffee pot (coffee “maker”?…they are not really “pots” anymore), and only then take my Steaming Cup of Morning over to the side-table by my Daddy chair, sit down, and…be open.
The coffee is my throw-blanket, though its effect is much briefer on my senses that its counterpart’s on my son’s.
Last night I returned from a work trip to Florida, where I woke up on three mornings overlooking the beach and ocean. My mornings, with coffee at my side of course, were accompanied by the sound of waves—each wave absolutely different, like snowflakes, or humans—yet all seeming the same and all constituting a whole. The waves were a familiar sound to me, embedded in my waking hours during summers on Fire Island from 1965 to 2002.
I wonder this morning how many New Yorkers are waking up and hearing—at first—the sounds of CNN Headline News, or of yelling in the next room or adjacent apartment, or of a bottle clinking on the sidewalk outside their bedroom window, or of a subway rushing downtown under the metal grate on which they are trying to sleep.