surfing on the edge of dawn

birds-at-sunrisePOSTCARD #86: Delhi 05:00 hours: When I open the glass doors to the garden, the temperature outside is the same as it is inside. This is such a novelty for me, having recently arrived from Northern Europe where there’s always that early morning chill separating outer from inner. Over here, it’s all of a oneness. I want to drag my mattress and bedclothes through, spread them out on the paving stones here and lie down with my pillow. Then I could gaze up at the tall trees in the early morning sky and listen to the birds. A birdsong extravaganza, surfing on the edge of dawn… why this wild party and glorious singing? What’s going on? Such an accumulation of voice – is this what we call God? …somehow, it doesn’t cover it, ‘god’ is just a word, man-made. The actuality of it is as far as the eye can see, daylight spreading over the curvature of the planet and an immeasurable sense of sky.

Impossible to understand the totality of it, of course, the mind is a filter, selecting the data to suit the software, and this may be a sound-realm on a scale only birds are aware of. In the darkness they can hear the sound of the other birds over there on the other side of dawn, where it’s already light, and that’s the signal to engage in this shared event. It’s like a football stadium crowd performing “the wave.” A movement in time that’s always present in the here-and-now – same at every location. Light-colour-sound, daybreak and birdsong are inseparable. It fills the air for about 20 minutes then disappears. At the next place in time and space, the birds respond to it there; the Mother Ship – applause, celebration, rejoice, and it moves on. Incredible mystery… it’s the movement of the planet, I need to remind myself, the rotation of the Earth at more than 1000 miles per hour, and always happening like this, of course. The dawn chorus is always being experienced in some part of the world. Continuous birdsong since whenever birds first populated the planet…

From this location in North India, it’s shifting away Westerly, in the direction of the Middle East and on to the Mediterranean countries. The birdsong of Palestine, of Israel, Greece, then Florence, Portugal. Over the Atlantic Ocean, isolated flocks of gulls rise up from the water’s surface, calling and mewing in the golden sky. On from there to the Eastern Seaboard of the US, across the forests, rivers and mountains of the continent and out over the Pacific.

It does not appear or disappear.
It is not born and does not die.
It is neither constructed nor raised up,
Neither made nor produced.

It is neither sitting nor lying,
Neither walking nor standing still,
Neither moving nor turning over,
Neither at rest nor idle.

It does not advance or retreat,
Knows not safety or danger,
Neither right nor wrong.
It is neither virtuous nor improper.

It is neither this nor that,
Neither going nor coming.

 From the Lotus Sutra


Photo: Birds in sunrise sky/ID 7756984 Xdrew/

31 thoughts on “surfing on the edge of dawn

  1. Prose that is poetry. A sacred time of day, along with sunset and 3AM. Those times when one can really feel the true mystery of it all. And the sutra was a perfect selection for the piece you wrote. And, too, it is good to be reminded of the rotation of the earth and the breath of life on this planet.
    Husband and I are blessed with a little barn on a road in the middle of nowhere which we escape to as often as possible. The walls and windows allow for us to hear all of the sounds of nature as if we had dragged our mattress outside although we can only see through the windows and skylight.

    • Reading about your little barn in the middle of nowhere brings to mind the sense of being attached to the earth, and the experience of sunrise needs to have that groundedness, somehow.

  2. ‘Over here, it’s all of a oneness.’

    That sounds alright then. 😉

    Many thanks for the wonderful worded and visual imagery Tiramit; both have illuminated the day in a most pleasing way here in what is now a surf-less Glastonbury. [The Somerset Levels – formerly the sea bed]

    All best wishes to you.


  3. The movement of the birdsong at dawn along with the planet… fills me with wonder and love for the all mysteries yet to be revealed. The cacophony at dawn has been transformed. Thank you.

    • Thanks for visiting Val and the idea of transformation. We try to describe it in words but the mystery is unexplained, changing, flowing and part of something very much larger, always unseen

  4. And somewhere along that flow of birdsong, the Kookaburras and Currawongs here in Australia take up the cue…

    I love the picture you have painted in this post Tiramit, and the lines from the Lotus Sutra are a treasure.

    Thank you – in “awe and wonderment” – ml

    • This is it, somewhere along that flow of birdsong after the seabirds of the Pacific, there are the Kookaburras and Currawongs, exotic and strange. I had to google the Currawong, it sings like a flute… surprising!

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