Pomp and Circumstance

It’s 6-something in the morning. It’s late spring so all the windows are open and fresh air is coursing through the house. It’s not a gentle breeze; the wind has an agenda. It pushes and pulls me until I’m awake.

There’s birdsong. I recognize it immediately. The sparrows are humming “Pomp and Circumstance.” It’s the kids’ natural alarm clock. It motivates them to go to school, get good grades and eventually graduate. Every day it gets a little louder; a little closer.

Sparrows, spare me I think. I dare not say it, or anything, out loud to the birds because that would break the spell.

I sit up, blink the sleep out of my eyes and look out my window. A thousand birds stare at me.

“School day! School day!” they sign.

“I know!” I sign back. “I’m up. We’re up.” I’m always a little groggy and ungrateful, at first.

I nudge Jesse. Pat his back, his bottom. That’s definitely him.

“Morning,” I say.

“No I’m not,” he says. Our little joke.

Master Bird Sir Edgar shakes his head at our morning routine. “Let him sleep in,” he signs. “He’s still growing.”

The others flap their wings.

More breeze. More wind.

“Bye Mama, bye Dad I love you!” We hear as our roof of birds flies up into the clouds with our children trailing joyfully beneath them.

“We love you, too!” I shout back up at them. Jesse hollers, “Have a good one!” and Master gives him a stern look. Jesse pulls the covers over his head and fake snores. Master is annoyed but the cloud of kids and birds laugh as they fly higher and faster to their destination. The humming fades as the kids disappear into their education.

Thanks to the spell, we’re a family with no cell phones, no iPads, no laptops, no computers, no cars. We rely solely on our imagination and wits (and a thousand birds) to get us where we need to go and right now coffee is where I need to go because coffee is a destination, not a drink.

“Ten-hut!” Master signs. “Hut two three four, hut two three four!”

The birds are back and start marching to our kitchen. Their tiny talons tap in unison throughout the house. The sound is light and tickles my mind, my heart.

The sparrows don’t judge us for being tall and featherless, but when Master first cast the spell, he irritatedly signed, “Humans talk too much!” as he slid an ancient contract to us.

Humans may talk to each other 
but must never speak to the sparrows 
lest the spell be broken.

“You overslept!” Master signs to Jesse. “Fall in!”

Jesse and I shoulder-roll into the line of birds and join the march. Hut two three four, hut two three four.

We’re in the kitchen, all of us.

Jesse signs, “There’s not enough coffee for all of us” and winks at the birds. Their little joke.

In unison, they all mime yawning. They love him.

“Enjoy your day,” Master signs to us, this time gently and peacefully. “For the rest of us, it’s nap time.”

Jesse signs back, “Thank you for everything.”

Jesse and I bow with gratitude to Sir Edgar and his orchestra of sparrows. They fly to the top of our house and form a roof. The fill it in nicely and snugly, just as they always do. A couple of them fake snore and giggle before they fall asleep. The house is dark again. Quiet.

“Kids won’t be home for awhile,” I tell Jesse as he pours our coffees. “What do you want to do?”

He hands me my coffee and smiles.

“This.”

Blogger’s Note: Thank you for reading my blog. Hope this one wasn’t too weird for you. -Connie

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