Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hidden Music

Spring begins with music. The notes are, at first, delicate and tentative, a bit out-of-sync, rather like an orchestra tuning its instruments. Sounds clash, as if disagreements are brewing, then they meander together, creating a pleasing melody. Here on my hilltop, drumbeats are added when the rain starts, a slow, drippy tap-tap-tap, a song that makes the world turn green.

All of a sudden, the rain stops, and birdsong begins: another little orchestra starts up. The treble notes of a piano are answered by flutes and bells. So much is contained within a Carolina Chickadee's two-notes. And magic happens when you watch the air. Birds in flight are the very definition of grace.

While I was gathering yarn and dryer lint for the nesting birds (it will go in the suet feeders), I happened to see two mating doves. They seemed to kiss, beak-to-beak, then in a flutter, it was over. She flew off, and her mate stayed behind. 

I also saw a pair of unknown birds (they were small and finch-like, with rusty-brown bodies and long beaks). Together, they are making a nest in the front porch, atop a stone column, hidden by the ivy. The female will fly up, holding a twig in her beak. She'll take her time, finding just the right spot for the twig. The male waits in the ivy, impatiently gripping his twig. When the female flies off, the male darts into the nest. In seconds, he's finished. He flies off just as the female returns. You can almost hear her saying, "Oh, honey, you put the twig in the wrong spot."
The picture is blurry; but in real life, the bird looks more like a Carolina Wren. But I'm not sure.

A ballad of wistful longing begins when a rabbit hops next to the fence. The lettuce is there, waiting to be planted . . . or nibbled.

Squirrels create playful music, the kind you'll hear in cartoons. Yet these critters can be completely quiet when they're raiding a bird feeder. They are still and focused, concentrating on one thing: pigging out. 

I hunker in the grass, watching and listening, paying absolute attention.  Within the silence, I hear the rhythm of the greening world. If I blink, I'll miss it.

A March sunset is full of music, the kind that changes from moment to moment. A sunset is a kind of color therapy, the perfect antidote for late winter doldrums.

When we bought this house, I had no way of knowing that the hilltop would be such a healing place. Something is happening every moment of the day. As the sun sets, it reflects on the town. Sometimes the surrounding hills seem to change colors. It only lasts a few moments; but it's a time of magic.

No matter where I've lived, my favorite time of day has always been dusk. I get very still and quiet, just watching as an inky blueness spills into the air. If the Blue Hour could be put to music, it would be low and shimmery and sexy, a man in a tuxedo playing the saxophone, Billy Joel singing "Just the Way You Are." 

The evening is so deep and blue, it could be an ocean. It is alive with music, everything from a piano to a French horn to a strummed banjo--and that marvelous saxophone.

 And inside my cozy nest, it seems as if a room has its own music, too.

 I think this room, at this moment, should be named "Night Music."

I've done a lot of looking and thinking on the hilltop. Hidden music is all around us, and we can only hear it when we sit very still. We hear it when we just stop a moment and engage with the world around us--but in quiet ways. Our days and nights are not measured by how much we do but how much we see. We are most alive when we open ourselves to small things and small moments. 
In those moments, we find heaven on earth.

Shared at:
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  1. What a nice post to read with my morning coffee, Michael Lee. I agree that we need to be silent to take in our surroundings when we live amongst nature. A walk around our property soothes the soul.I think that is a Carolina Wren from what I can see. I, too, have a resident bunny that comes for snacks. I love to see it. Enjoy your day in your paradise,on top of the hill. Deb

  2. What a lovely way to start my day. I am very guilty of not taking the time to hear the music of life, living life as if it were a race for time. Thank you. You've inspired me to slow down and listen.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more! I feel a hypersensitivity to beauty in March. I love spring. Everyday is a new surprise, and I love walking the yard, the neighborhood, and capturing photos of the gifts given each day. Your beautiful photos and thoughts do just that.

  4. What beautiful words and photos, Michael Lee. I, too, love sunsets and sunrises, especially over lakes and oceans. Recently when I was walking my beloved dog, Vern, late at night, I was in awe of the moon and stars and thought about how many millions of years they've been there and how many millions of people have looked at was rather breathtaking and overwhelming...all in a wondrous way!

  5. This post was so inspirational to me, kind of a reminder to take the time to smell the roses so to speak. Your views from your home are incredible. If I owned it I would never leave. Thank you for sharing this post.


  6. Thank you for sharing your hilltop with us! I love your blue hour photos. Being a sort of hill girl myself, I enjoy seeing your far away hills, maybe mountains, in your photos too. Your words are like music! Sheila

  7. "Our days and nights are not measured by how much we do but by how much we see." Deep truth, and poetically expressed. "An unexamined life is not worth living..." Plato

  8. What a beautiful post. You certainly have a perfect view from your hill top home. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  9. Beautiful post and photos of the sunset.... and now I need to listen to Billy Joel. He has some sexy songs~!

  10. Your pictures accompanied by the pure magic of your writing is so uplifting. Thank you.

  11. Lovely images, Michael Lee! Love seeing the yellow flowers; spring has sprung. I think the bird might be a chipping sparrow but I'm not certain. Enjoy the rest of your week.

  12. Perfect similes and metaphors for the awakening earth—very poetic! I love it when the grass "greens up" and is the color of emeralds. Those sweet little Chickadees make the cutest squeaky, chirping sounds and are the easiest to identify, I think. Now, I've always felt like a pea in the same pod as you, but not when it comes to sunsets. I am a sunrise girl, so we'd have to debate that one (good-naturedly, of course!).

  13. You have captured the beauty of this time so eloquently, and not to mention your beautiful photographs depicting the essence of mother nature of land and it's wonderful creatures....loved this post!

  14. OMGoodness, you almost took my breath away with this post. What wonderful words and photos to wake up to You have so eloquently put into words what I have thought so many times. There is so much beauty surrounding us if we just SEE. THANK YOU for this beautiful post. I will look at it over and over. Your view is spectacular!!!!

  15. dryer lint...brilliant! totally forgot about that for the birds, will do that this afternoon. What a gorgeous view you have night and day! Thanks for sharing!Sandi

  16. Thank you Michael Lee, for the beautiful descriptive passages, fabulous photographs of your special hilltop, and such important thoughts. I am so glad you have found peace in your new home, the night views are glorious...

  17. One of my favorite things to do is watch all the birds and wildlife interact so beautifully at my mountain top home. Heaven on earth, right here. Lovely post, and your home is beautiful!