Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Magic of Birds

Have you ever noticed the magic that occurs in the heart of a city just before sunrise? It really is an incredible moment, if you've never experienced it.

"Why", you may ask. Well, I'm glad you did, dear Reader.

You see, just before dawn, something quite remarkable occurs. The city, which is normally within the realm of humanity, becomes the domain of the birds. For just a few moments it seems as if there are no people walking, nobody driving. It seems as if everyone is asleep. And at that moment, for a very short time, all the birds awaken and begin to sing.

I was reminded of this just the other day when I awoke at that magical time in Seattle. My wife and son were both still asleep and I heard the sound of the birds grow louder and louder with each passing moment. I quietly rolled out of the hotel bed, slipped on some clothes for the day, and went downstairs to stand outside and drink in the avian symphony.

It was, as usual, truly incredible.

And while those feathered wonders sang of their love, I was reminded of Baha'u'llah and the Day of God.

How often has the Blessed Beauty referred to Himself as a bird? "Lo! The Nightingale of Paradise..." or "the mystic Dove, singing in the midmost heart of eternity, and the celestial Bird, warbling upon the Divine Lote-Tree..." to name but a few examples. I even understand that there is a compilation someone made of all the references to birds in the Holy Writings (as well as flowers, but that's another story).

And then, if that wasn't beautiful enough, Baha'u'llah also refers to this time not only as the Promised Day of God, but specifically as the dawn of that promised day. Here we find Him, like those mortal birds, singing His song at the very break of day, with few awake to hear Him. All can hear Him, as we can all hear those earthly birds, but few are conscious of it. My wife, for example, smiled a bit in her sleep as those birds were singing. That brief smile was a reminder, to me, of the pervasive influence of the Word of God, and how Baha'u'llah's coming has touched everything in all of creation.

I can try and tell you more about the beauty of that song I heard that morning, but how can I convey the mystical quality of it? How can I, with my feeble cawing, try to sing of the beauty of those angels? I could record it, but even then that would fail to capture the incredible moment that passed so swiftly.

Instead, I found myself, as I was trying to figure out how I could share that moment with you, dear Reader, thinking about the prayer for the Fast. I thought of "the fire of Thy love which drove sleep from the eyes of Thy chosen ones and Thy loved ones, and (of) their remembrance and praise of Thee at the hour of dawn". I thought about how "the light of Thy countenance" follows that mention of dawn, and how this light is followed by "the call of Thy lovers, and the sighs of them that long for Thee, and the cry of them that enjoy near access to Thee". And there, yes there, in that prayer, I found my answer, for what else but the beauty of the spirit, given voice by the Blessed Beauty, could try to capture that moment on a lonely downtown street?

The country may be for the soul, and the city may be like the body, but there, at dawn, when the city-lights were nearing the end of their job, there was a bit of the soul living within that body for all to hear.

Another thing that I am reminded of is how that simple song affected my day. It put me in a good mood, lifted my spirit, cheered me up as no alarm clock would ever be able to do. It got me thinking about the spirit, reminded of the purpose for living, elevated me far beyond what I normally experience during an ordinary day, especially before I've had any coffee or tea.

And this, I think, must be another analogy of those lovers of the Blessed Beauty who were awake during the true dawn.

Yes. It is true. Every atom truly does sing of God's praise. And everything in all of creation really does share with us a message of the spirit, if we only look for it.


  1. MEAD!! This article reminds of of paragraph 16 from the Iqan. It would have been nice to add something like this to it. Perhaps later. Lovely article. Your friend Samuel

  2. Mead, what do you feel about hunters? Bang! The sound of humanity echoing in the morning. A bird has become a morning appetizer.