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I Lean In to Hear
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A sliver of radiance expands as the horizon opens up in an arms-wide embrace of the day. Stars try unsuccessfully to hold on to their dark theater, at last surrendering to the greater light.
I sit in my usual spot, looking out over the sea, waiting for it – the voice I’ve come so far to hear. A long arduous flight from a far off mountain village has left me rough around the edges, but hope is a powerful tonic for the miseries of the journey.
The crickets fade with the night until the last one gives way to the day shift and goes back to its home in the grass. Songs of the morning begin like a symphony of disjointed but somehow harmonious instruments. Creatures of earth sense the rhythm surge from within and the melody it creates bonds them in one accord.
But the voice I came to hear is silent. Have I ventured so far in vain? I wait - and I wait some more. Another day, and then another, passes as I’m surrounded by the calls of everything but my heart’s desire. Day slips into night and I sleep restless and unfulfilled.
Another morning, another concert of the ages; disappointment breeds in me and I begin to lose hope.
As the morning songs soften and light warms everything within its reach, a sound behind me startles me in its gentleness. Barely audible, I lean in to be certain. It comes again. It’s her! She calls out to me in increasing cadence and I tremble with anticipation. I dare not respond until she has concluded her request. Her appeal fades away to a hush and I ready myself to prepare my response.
From a deep ancient well within me I cry out to her, affirming my desire in a short burst of excitement; the shout of the relieved. I didn’t travel so far and wait so long only to be left alone.
She comes to sit next to me and we stare in wonder. I edge closer to her; she shyly backs away. This love will not come so easy. I preen and prance, dancing for hours. At last we unite in our shared destiny.
Upon the next sunrise I dive straight to the business at hand. There is only one purpose for my day; I must quickly find a place to make our home. I scour high and low, inspecting every option, leaving no possibility unexplored. Then I find it. I immediately know it is right. I call to her anew; she comes quickly to see what I have found for her. She inspects it thoroughly, top to bottom, turning every which way to make certain that it meets her needs. She bows her head three times in acceptance and I bow back to her my appreciation of her favor. Now the work really begins.
We labor together tirelessly, going off in many directions to find just the right material for our home. Just any old thing that is within reach will not do. No effort is too great. After days of work and many dangers, it is complete. And just in time. Two emerald green jewels are laid in the crèche and the vigil begins - she for our young ones, and I for food to sustain her.
Within a span of two weeks, it happens. Bursting forth into the world, our precious ones arrive, beautiful and perfect. I redouble my efforts; here are three mouths to feed. The days fly by in a sustained flurry of securing nourishment for my brood. They grow and grow until they breach their confines and I begin calling them to join with me in the harvest. Throughout the season, we four work side-by-side, my mate and I looking out for the young ones, warning them of danger and teaching them the ways of our kind.
Time passes; we watch them grow like moist seedlings under the passion of the sun. The day comes for our not-so-little-ones to find their own way back to the mountains. Embedded urges within them answer to the songs of the far off mountain village. They know the way to go. They depart, and soon are disappearing specks in the sky. A sense of completion nestles in with us in the still, cool morning air. My love and I, partners for life, listen to hear the chorus. At last, we hear the refrain calling over the land to us. It is time to go home.
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