We were spinning—all of us—on a tilt toward the east. On our way, we were met by ever-expanding rosy hues of light. Then, golds. Then, blues—vast blues. We were entranced by beauty. Awakened from our dispirited slumber. In awe. Birds sang—sang from every tree and bush. There were many then—many birds, many trees and, of course, bushes. The birds, they sang out testimonials—declarations. It was all about their beingness, their pleasures. They threw their heads way back and, beaks wide, to the sky they sang. It was something to behold by sight and by ear. You could feel it—how the world had become something across a mere span of moments that it had not been just moments before the light, the colors, and the chorus. We emerged from darkness, maybe desolation too. This, we decided, was the beginning. It was daigan—dawn—the becoming of a day. We agreed to count our lives out by such moments—by days. Imagine the boldness and joy in that decision! Tell me how many dawns you’ve had. Tell me what the colors were. Tell me which birds perched where and, then, tell me what they warbled or called or cried out. And, if you cannot, tell me of your sorrow. Tell me how you have forsaken the dawn songs. Tell me why you, in your animal body, decided to stop living.
Dr. Jamie K. Reaser is a scientist, philosopher, award-winning writer, artist, and regenerative farmer. In all forms, Jamie’s work explores the inter-relatedness of Nature and human nature. Her newest release (with co-editor J. Drew Lanham) is Dawn Songs: A Birdwatcher's Field Guide to the Poetics of Migration (Talking Waters Press, 2023). Jamie is tended by the meandering Rockfish River and steadfast Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia.
Photographs copyright JKR.