Rain fell all day Sunday, and I loved it. The sky was dark from dawn to dusk, as it has been so often in the past few months, but yesterday could not be mistaken for anything other than a spring day. I could smell the mud.
I knew this moment was coming, because there are already snowdrops blooming in the Cathedral garden. The little green patch of grass and hedge in front of my windows has been a little slower to reveal the softening. It doesn't get much direct sun, and the snow piles linger longer, and greyer, than they do across the street. But now things are changing fast. Birds greet the hour before dawn with a jubilation unheard for months.
I am beginning to feel jubilant, too, because I am finally almost well, and my voice is coming back, with a little more strength every day. I have a gig this Friday in Beacon, NY, and have been anxioiusly watching the calendar. When virtually everything you do to make your living is voice-dependent – singing, teaching, speaking, talking on the phone – and your voice is tattered… well, it's scary. You don't know that it will ever come all the way back, and you can't go out and buy another one. I wake in the morning, and chirp, testing. I hoard our vocal resources when they wear thin, avoiding long phone calls or places where I'll have to talk too loudly. I am not alone in this; most singers and actors I know are what one might call hyper-aware, vocally. And even though we know we are more than just our voices, we still fret and froth when silenced.
So I wonder about birds. What happens to a bird who can't sing for a bit? Does he suffer a crisis of identity? Is she despondent? The fall of every sparrow is counted, but what, in the little sinkings before the fall, does the bird know?