The older I get, the surer I am that Mother Nature will arouse me each night from sweet slumber to answer her call. I stumble through the darkness, irritated that I have been forced from my cozy bed. I mentally grumble until, bathroom call answered, I once again snuggle deeply into my pillow.
Last night was no different–with one exception. Last night I did not grumble that I had been awakened. Why? Because the night was unspeakably beautiful and alive with the sweet, continuous song of a mockingbird! The moon, full and bright, shined through my window and lay a silver patch of moonbeam across my bed. Outside, the peaceful country landscape was wrapped in a soft glow. The nearby pond glistened in the moonlight. There were no sounds of danger or distress–no dogs barking, no coyotes howling, no sirens screaming down the distant, dark highway. All was quiet except for the song of a single mockingbird. Loudly and melodically he serenaded me from high in the maple tree in my front yard. No other bird joined him in song. He was alone, determined, it seemed, to fill the night with his music.
For a long while, I lay and listened to his singing. He quickly switched from the call of one bird to the call of another, then yet another. I tried to count the many different species he imitated, but I easily lost count as he zigzagged through his repertoire with speed and perfection.
The peace I felt cannot be measured. It was a gift–a temporary gift–and I wished that everyone, everywhere, could have felt the gentle comfort of this lovely night. Yet, I knew it could not be, for we live in a world of woe. I knew that when night was over and the darkness had been pushed away by the morning sun, the hectic clamor of life would return. I would arise from my bed, turn on the morning news and listen while I cooked breakfast. I would likely hear of robberies, of killings in our streets, of riots in our Nation, and of wars and beheading in the world–all having occurred while my little Tennessee mountain was steeped in peace and tranquility.
Yet, it has not always been so. To the contrary, my mountain home has weathered times of trouble and looked squarely into the face of tragedy. The hills have echoed my cries of despair, and the deep woods have heard my groaning with grief. Still, they pass, and peace always returns.
Perhaps this is the take-away message to be gleaned from this lovely night, that when “wars and rumors of wars” come to visit your corner of the world, you must not lose hope. Remember it is not universal, neither is it unending. Somewhere, the cries of death cannot be heard. Somewhere, peace covers the land like a blanket of silvery moonlight. Somewhere, yes, somewhere a mockingbird sings at midnight.