It is early, still dark in the ever-brightening mornings of Southeast Alaska. The spiny outline of the tops of the conifers is just beginning to reveal itself to another day.
American Robins are singing.
There is something comforting and constant in the song of a thrush. They are the last of the birds to cease their singing at the end of the day and one of the first to burst into song in the silent, stillness of the dawn.
The song of the robin has always been a herald of spring and the turning of the season, yet this morning its singing feels out of place, unfamiliar.
Of course, it is I who am out of place, lost in an unfamiliar realm. Intellectually, I know that it is spring. Birds are singing and chattering as if to raise the dead, just realizing once more a deep, evolutionary push to create life on this pulsing planet.
I am comforted by the darkness this morning, but for me, life feels different. This time last spring, I anxiously awaited the arrival of the Townsend’s Solitaire to the fields surrounding my upper Skagit home. Another member of the thrush family whose arrival marked the onset of a new season, a fresh start.
In Gustavus, I have no fields around my home. There will be no solitaire perched on a downed branch, flicking its tail and observing its surrounding with silent, dark eyes. The robins are singing, but they seem out of place.
Somewhere, a Red-breasted Sapsucker is pounding on a can atop a snag, and the tree frogs are singing as if their lives depended on it, and they do.