For the past just-over a week, I’ve been getting up at 6am to start my Power Hour routine and today was no exception. As I shared in my last post, I really love these early morning starts, which has really taken me by surprise. Today, I woke even earlier (no alarm required) which gave me the chance to do a couple of guided mediations in the warmth of my bed before getting up at the usual time to do my asana practice, meditation, dancing etc. routine.
What wasn’t so usual today was that, rather than just the solitary robin trill from the tree to the left of my yoga room window, I caught the unmistakable melody of a blackbird…my favourite…and then noticed he had the full backing group with him, made up of sounds so diverse yet seamlessly blended it was as though the bird-residents of our little corner of the world had rehearsed for days.
With my head out of the window, I was thrilled to be able to soak in the full orchestral effect of a proper dawn chorus, it was truly awesome in the least overused version of what that refers to. I kept the window ajar for the whole of my asana practice, despite the chill. It was still dark outside. The London basin level of commuter traffic on the roads was all the louder for the open window but my focus was on this, not that.
How many hundreds…thousands…of times do I miss this? Sometimes, on summer mornings, I happen to go to the bathroom with its window ajar and there it is, just audible enough to go back to bed and try…with head slightly raised off the pillow…to continue listening. Rarely, though a couple of hands would suffice to count the times, I have been out there walking my dog when it happened. Those winter month trills from a solitary robin under streetlamp remind me, as per my previous post, of early morning starts that have scarred me, being the stomach-twisting ones on the way to some office job or other, especially in those early days of a long commute to the City. A rather more tragic indictment of my life to date, it’s also a sound that reminds me strongly of airports and continental travel, not because of that travel per se but because of the time we tend to set-off to get there!
Even though I know how affecting it can feel to be awake at this time of day, gilding all the days to come, as though having slipped through the cracks into some alternate reality for a while… Even though I still hold the feeling of such encounters in my body as treasured feeling–memories, yet as though they are, somehow, pearls that I do not deserve to take hold of on the more-mundane days of my life… Even though I tell myself, frequently, I will “try” to get up to be outside somewhere waiting for the sunrise one day soon…I have not made the effort to experience Nature’s power hour anywhere close to enough times in my five-plus decades of life.
(And if life was suddenly known to be drastically shortened, how much more readily would I suddenly grab onto the pearl, slip through the gilded crack, make that small effort?)
Yes, this magical thing happens more days than not, even in its most pared back versions off-season, but how often am I around to appreciate it? How out of touch have I been with one of the most awe-striking, rarified, freely available, unlegislated and wholly unrationed joys of life?!
There it has been, this ethereal “performance” that seems to straddle dimensions of reality…and I have mostly slept through it, for years. How long have I been feeling this other power hour, Nature’s power hour, urging me to synchronise? How many years have I ignored the electric tingles that charge through my body just before dawn, that “annoy me” for making it hard to sleep; rather than receiving their message promply, “time not to sleep anymore”? How long was I going to go on with learned behaviours over natural ones, calling me to be part of this rarified time of day; to experience it, to (in my way) take part in it, not once for the holidays but as part of daily life?
Today, with the chill air of a blustery morning that had wind chimes joining in with their melody, I soaked it all in; every last drop; this (not quite…yet) power hour of the birds to mingle with my own power hour on the mat. It told me that Spring is almost here, that the birds feel it through their feathers, that its time to reach for new beginnings, to accept the baton of that ever-forgiving reboot offered so tirelessly by Mother Nature and I was a little shocked that I had rebuffed one of its most exuberant signs for all these many years.
The Dawn Chous – for some useful outline information on what the dawn chorus is, when does it happen and other fascinating details, such as why some birds sing more than one melody.