Standing out by CJ’s hutch the other night, petting and talking to her, I noticed something startlingly profound. Our backyard is pretty woodsy, sloping down into a creek, full of towering poplars and white oaks. I’ve always enjoyed sitting out on the deck at night to listen to the delicious silence at nighttime. This particular night, however, was especially beautiful. I drank up the sounds of crickets, creek peepers, and the breeze rustling through the boughs and leaves. Somehow… it seemed musical. Every sound in the woods harmonized and blended to make a sort of moving song for which no one had to tune up.
Almost without trying, the first words of a poem slipped off my tongue.
Moonlight Sonata in Forest… a symphony without notes.
The conductor raises his arms.
A sparkle of stars sweeps through the branches
With the delicate sigh of many chimes.
A single note: a sleepy piccolo chirps good night.
A wave of harmony mounts and blends; the violin only
The boughs and leaves of somber trees are
Whispering under the tender fingers of the wind.
Do you hear? Bittersweet melody of oboe
Low and clear, mastered by many croaking creatures;
Frog and peeper.
Now listen to the piano’s song; the keys are pebbles,
Played by the skillful hand of
It is joined by cello and drum,
Where the mud gives stage to
Throbs of bullfrog.
A trumpet! Not gold or brass
She sweeps over the stage on strong, soft silent wings
Heralding the moonrise.
A solemn hush blankets the musicians
As a single soloist takes the highest treetop.
Not a creature moves.
Not a creature sings.
A slender neck,
A graceful poise.
A flutter of papery wings to clear the throat.
Against the moon rises a silhouetted head,
Beak opened for his song.
Out pours the warble across the audience,
A flute unmatched by all the world.
No listener could tire of this
Sweet, unearthly voice.
Imagine strings of pearls,
Flung across the treetops,
Floating in midair.
The mockingbird issues the last burst of song
And bows his head.
All is silent.
The conductor lowers his arms.