SUNRISE AND WARBLERS

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Remember being 12 or 13 years of age?

Hair suddenly growing in weird places, pimples sprouting, body parts getting strange and doing confusing things.

No matter how agreeable a kid you were previously, you are now a completely disagreeable thing.

The transformation is complete when adults you used to look up to are now dolts.

Whereas just the previous spring I would leap from bed in the early hours, ride my bike all day and attack life with ferocity, things changed.

The sledgehammer of the 13th year means sleeping until noon and hanging with friends – the only other beings on earth who matter now.

So, I’m ready for battle when the Acadian tries to rouse me early one Spring morning.

“Leave me alone – the sun isn’t even up yet – what do you want?”

I snarl.

She is not put off by a mere snarl.

“You have to get up – you have to see something.”

The Acadian will not stop. I know because I am her daughter. Her relentlessness is the well-spring for my own.

Raging and boiling with resentment, I stomp off to join her on the back step. She’s jolly with excitement.

“Wait till you see.”

“It’s cold, it’s dark and I want to go back to bed,” I say.

“Now just be patient – this will be worth it,” she says.

The sky becomes a little less black – more like a midnight blue.

I yawn.

Something better happen soon – my feet are cold. I hate this.

The Acadian looks over at me.

“Watch.”

She raises her arms from her sides, palms up. When the sun peeks from the horizon, her arms lift higher, and the world explodes with life.

Birds chatter, squeak and squawk.

The sun’s rays fall on the cherry tree where the bird feeder dangles, illuminating the white, translucent blossoms.

Pulling the breath from my body.

The rays light up my mother’s face. She - in plain housedress and work-reddened hands - transforms into a golden goddess. 

I watch her face.

Her eyes light up with reverence.

“Look – yellow warblers – oh, yellow warblers coming to the tree!”

In one grand swoop, they drop onto the cherry tree, hiding the white blossoms with their plump bodies. They crowd out to the tip of each branch. 

And, like a yellow waterfall, some spill to the ground, pooling at the foot of the tree.

Has she conjured this?

It seems she brought the sunrise with her hands. Did she somehow call the yellow warblers?

The Acadian smiles in response.

She makes us tea, slathers thick pieces of homemade bread with butter and jam. She brings it all out to the back step, so we can continue to watch the show.

As the sun rises higher in the sky, her golden glow fades. Sometimes though, looking closely around her edges, there remains a slight, shimmery glow.