Archive for October 3rd, 2021

When the Cock Crows

Dr Caligari Trees

In a shadowy place something white flew up. It was a heron, and it went away over the dark treetops. William Wallace followed it with his eyes and Brucie clapped his hands, but Virgil gave a sigh, as if he knew that when you go looking for what is lost, everything is a sign.

–Eudora Welty, The Wide Net 

When I came out of the house this morning to make the walk through the woods to my studio it was still dark with just the faintest light of morning beginning to brighten the sky. It was Sunday morning quiet, no roar from cars on the distant road nor sounds of any sort of human activity. The sound of a distant rooster harkening the morning broke the silence.

It was a weird crow, more like an extended screech mashed together with a normal crow. It was unlike any crow I had heard in the many years in the the early morning light before. It made me stop on our walkway to listen, to make sure that it was actually a rooster and not some omen of doom.

Because it sure sounded like one. It was like this rooster was adding a panicked warning to his normal wake-up call, like he sensed something strange was about to take place.

At that moment, as I stood there in the darkness of the woods, the black silhouettes of the trees and brush took on the tone of a dark German Expressionist film and I found myself wondering if there was some sort of omen in that strange crow, some warning I should heed.

It set off an anxiety in me that was already poised and ready to pounce. But as I walked along the path in the darkness as that odd crowing continued to echo a thought came to mind. It pretty much lined up with the passage at the top from the Eudora Welty story.

It came to me that when you’re always looking for something, especially something so deeply hidden that you’re sure it can never be found, everything becomes a clue or a warning. It leaves you wandering in this semi-darkness filed with ominous shadows and fantasized fears.

You can’t live in that place.

That all went through my mind in a flash and before I was even halfway across the dark trail, I was chuckling at the crowing and the ominous fears it had raised. If it was an omen, if something awful comes to be on this day, then I will be humbled. But if enduring the childhood fears of creatures under the bed and in darkened closets and scary attics have taught me anything, it is that what we often fear was never there to begin with.

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of how easily baseless fears often grow within ourselves and how easily we accept ideas that based on this.

Ah, the primal fear of a crowing cock breaking the silence and darkness of a Sunday morning. It explains a lot.

Now let’s have some music, okay?

This morning I am going with a version of a Jesse Colin Young/ Youngbloods song, Darkness Darkness, from 1969 performed by Robert Plant. The Youngblood’s original version is great and there are also many good performances of this song from a wide variety of artists out there but I prefer the Robert Plant version a bit more. See what you think…

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