The 4:45 Bird

I live in the country. There are birds.
Don't get me wrong. I love birds. They're amazing little creatures. However, every morning at 4:45, a single bird starts singing outside my window.
4:45 a.m.
The sun hasn't even begun to come up. It's still dark. I'm trying to sleep, for goodness sake!
But he sings.
After a while, another bird answers him. As dawn sneaks up, more birds join the birdy choir. By the time the sky is well lit, tweets and whistles fill the air.
This morning (shortly after Bird 1 began tweeting), I thought about What It Means. This one bird's song. So here are my deep thoughts (these are rare occurrences, so pay attention!).
Bird 1 sings alone. He sits in a dark tree and no one is listening to his song. He sings anyway. He makes music because he likes to, because it's what he was meant to do. If he had to sing alone all day, he would.
But then the other birds hear him. They open their beaks and let the notes fly. Bird 1 has inspired them, led them into a great chorus to welcome a new day. Bird 1 has spread the joy through every tree in the neighborhood.
Lessons from the perch of Bird 1:
  1. Sing your song. Or write your words, dance your dance, paint your canvas. Do that thing you know you're meant to do. Even if it's only for your own pleasure. Even if other people don't seem to appreciate it. Only you know your "song." Sing it loud!                                                    
  2. Sing in the dark. Things may look bad, but dawn is coming. Birds aren't very smart, but they've figured this out. Dare to hope that the new day will be bright. And if it rains on you, keep singing anyway. Emily Dickinson wrote:
    “Hope” is the thing with feathers -
    That perches in the soul -
    And sings the tune without the words -
    And never stops - at all
  3. Don't wait for permission to "sing." Don't put off your dreams until the house is clean or you lose twenty pounds or you "get it together." It's 4:45. Go for it with all you have. Who knows what other birds you'll inspire to tweet? Who knows what joy you'll add to the world?


  1. Carrie, well said. I have loved that Dickinson poem since my teen years. Thank you for the reminder! I tend to be more of a morning crower though. Er-er-erooo!

  2. Dear Carrie, I've just discovered your book and your blog and you sound delightful but I must disabuse you of a grave error.... birds are VERY smart. I know, I have 3 of them and they have managed, without the benefit of English, to train me to their exact preferences for snacks, schedule, outings, and yes, waking.

    I haven't read Mermaid's Sister yet but from the description, I think that birds would be an amazing subject for you to write about. I've been trying to write a book about a magical parrot, myself, but it eludes. Maybe you can do it!

    Best regards, Anne


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