Trinity at Dawn

Pre-dawn, and the sky is just beginning to lose its opacity. The sky is tinged with light, just enough to establish the distinction between air and filigree of tree branches, flat like a tintype against the dawn. Each sip of coffee I take brings the morning nearer, until sun’s orange edge pushes out of the horizon like an uncooked egg yolk. Almost simultaneously, a bird begins its call, a morning litany of praise. It sounds close, but it is not–it is only that the air is so clear and silent that it magnifies the sound across the yard to me. The bird is perched on the highest point visible on our property, a dead pine whose skeleton branches thrust up between two deciduous trees at the edge of our woods. Even from this distance, however, I can see it open its throat and emit three notes, lilting and clear, a trinity of praise. From across the field, it is immediately answered with exactly the same three notes, the music of an unseen companion. A pause of a few seconds, and the first bird repeats its song. A downbeat, and the same bird answers it–and back and forth they call to one another, with always the same three notes, though their pitch and inflection vary. Theirs is perfect synchronicity, a peaceful call and response, the second bird always waiting for the third note, never rushing to overlap the first bird’s message, never muddling the music of its mate. This, I think, must be unity at its best: both creating a song that sounds complementary, not imitative, valuing the voice of the other, being in an easy sync, varying the composition with a cadence, an inflection, a tone quality all your own but which does not depart from the common song. It seems right and true and natural that their notes are a trinity and that the morning is ushered in with praise.

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