The morning wind forever blows, the poem of creation is uninterrupted; but few are the ears that hear it.
(H. D. Thoreau, Walden)
It’s early morning, just after sunrise. Crickets throb the moist air, not in unison, but still a single, if hoarse and squeaking, voice.
Here’s a sprinkling of rain. So light, it almost sounds more like wind rattling the dry, late-summer leaves. But the leaves aren’t waving in a breeze, they’re bowing their heads. Gradually the drizzle grows louder, until it drowns out the crickets.
Then the rain lightens up again, and the song birds chirp in. Morning comes no matter what, they seem to sing. The crickets throb louder than before, but now their chorus is joined by those daytime insects that screech through the hottest humid days, as if the forest were a badly tuned violin, playing to an absent, grumpy audience.
The crows — or are they blackbirds? — start their caw-cawing. They are loudest of all, till they’re overpowered by a distant, increasing hum …. of rush-hour traffic. You aren’t way out in the wilderness after all, you’re in a leafy suburb of Boston. In case you still have any doubt, a plane roars briefly overhead.
But there is just one plane, and the traffic noise is gone, too, at least for the moment. Never mind about the city; the eye sees only jungle green. It’s wild enough.
The rain intensifies, tapping impatiently on the leaves, brushing off dust. The crickets resume. Has night returned already?
No. If you pay attention you can hear them all: crickets, song birds, traffic, rain, crows, summer bugs. While listening, you smell the rusty, summer-rain breeze wafting through the window screen.
Now you hear a new sound: the commuter rail, speeding in from Fitchburg toward Boston. Normally it just zooms by, on its way past Walden Pond in Concord, heading toward Waltham and Cambridge, setting off a few bells where it crosses roads. Normally the train isn’t allowed to sound its horn when it passes through Lincoln.
But this morning is part of track-repair season. This morning the train does sound the horn in Lincoln. This morning the train horn blows its horn loudly.
The horn is like a trumpet, blaring long and short brassy notes. It sounds like reveille, like the blaring of a military bugle. Wake up! Pay attention! Alert, alert! Like the crowing of the rooster Chanticleer, waking up his neighbors. It’s time to wake up.
Like the blast of a ram’s horn, a shofar, the wake-up call announces T’kiyah! Sh’varim! Sh’varim! T’ruah! Wake up not just your body but your soul. Awaken! This morning is part of soul-repair season. In ten days the whole world will go to sleep and then awaken to a new morning and a new year. The poem of creation begins again. Are you ready? Wake up, wake up!