The rain fell in the night as predicted - straight-down, relentless, a carillon calling to sleep. The big white dog slept with his head across my feet, occasionally letting loose a deep, contented sigh as the rain pounded the roof and lashed the leaded windows till, just as the hands of the clock drifted closer to three, we heard him.
Out there in the dark, in the rain. A bird, singing.
Not the soft lilt of the nightingale, nor the warm hoot of the owl, but a full-throated song more suitable to noon-time, more expected in the sun. Hidden within the chartreuse leaves of a newly born Spring this feathered tenor lifted his voice to spite the dark, to ridicule the rain; neither would silence his obvious joy. Though the lyrics were known only to him, he sang through the dark garden in notes of pure happiness, a celestial choir of one.
The big dog stirred and met my gaze with understanding.
“He has to sing”, he seemed to tell me. "He can't help himself.
“The rain is pushing away winter. Spring is here.”
“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come….”
Song of Solomon 2:11-12