“This is the song of summer…” – from Aerial, by Kate Bush
Long before I heard the song, I associated your cheery “chirrup” with dawn, and twilight, and warmth.
The kitchen door open, to let in the fresher air. The daylight just beginning to change. The first cuppa of the day, or perhaps the last. And you: a dark, feathered form on the higher of the garden walls. Gold-ringed eye inquisitive. Or so I’ve often thought.
A few days ago, I heard you. It was dusk.
It wasn’t warm out, though. Barely still light. It’s mid-January. Winter hasn’t yet loosened her grip, even if the return of the light promises that soon, she’ll begin uncurling her cold, strong fingers.
Moments before you began to sing, someone came into the room, and started to speak. Let’s just say they’re not among my more positive friends or acquaintances.
Their choice of subject wasn’t one likely to many people brighten up. It was about decisions which may or may not be made, which could have a significant impact on their future.
Theirs, and the person they were talking to. And mine.
Whilst they were still speaking, you started up. I couldn’t see you, blocked as you were by distance, and people, and the window blinds.
But I could hear you.
I chose you, blackbird. You, and your song. Not my human acquaintance.
I know why they were unhappy. I don’t know why you were happy. I don’t even know what you were singing about. I barely have enough knowledge to recognise your voice.
To me, you sounded full of joy, and the promise of spring.
So I listen to you, blackbird. I listen, as you sing.
Note: The RSPB’s “Big Garden Bird Watch” is on Saturday and Sunday, 24th and 25th January. Click on the link to take part in this year’s survey of UK garden birds.