Now Showing in Your Local Sky: Morning

Sunlight and clouds paint the sky at morning. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford.
Sunlight and clouds paint the sky at morning. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford.

“Morning has broken,

“Like the first morning . . .”

English children began singing the song in church services decades ago.

Folk singer/song writer Cat Stevens popularized it in the 70s.

“Morning has broken . . .”

It is a song of spring.

No matter the season.

Only hours into spring, shortly before morn was to break, we stepped out to get the papers.

Retrieved them, sat down in our front porch chair.

Waited for the sun to break the day, bless the day.

In a few minutes it did, initially bringing its special array of soft, inspiring colors.

And hope.

A bird came. We didn’t get sufficient look at it to know what kind.

Roger Summers
Roger Summers

Might not have known even if we had gotten a good look at it.

It settled into the hedge in front of our porch, began singing.

Until it sang, we’d more or less assumed the birds about our place knew only a song or two.

As do we.

On this morn, we learned otherwise.

This bird sang a different, extended tune.

After a little while, we realized this bird had what seemed to be an inexhaustible repertoire.

No two songs were alike.

For several seconds, it would offer up one song.

Then, finished with that song and without hesitation, it moved seamlessly on to another song.

For an equal amount of time.

Then on to another song.

Then another.

Then . . .

How many songs can a bird know?


Depending upon the bird, some say thousands.

Some say tens of thousands.

Some say some birds sing with special energy at dawn.

More loudly.

More vigorously.

More enthusiastically.

More purposefully.

Mornings can be like that.

For birds.

For people.

After a good while, the bird that came to delightfully break the morn for us, with us – and after we lost count of the many different songs it sang – it moved on.

Perhaps to sing for a neighbor.

Then maybe another.

And then . . .

Bringing the morning.

Cheerfully, optimistically bringing the morning.

Presenting the morning.

As it deserves to be presented.

Offering up its enviable repertoire.

Like the awakening sun, helping to bring the day’s blessings.

Smoothing, soothing as it does.

As morning breaks.

And, having been calmed, entertained, encouraged, delighted, stilled and yet at once enlivened by the countless, captivating songs it sings, we’ll be back tomorrow.


Bright ‘n’ early.

Before darkness completes its assigned time.

Before the sun begins to sign on for the day.

We’ll be back, hoping this joyous, melodious songster comes again.

To elevate the spirit.

Captivate the heart.

Embrace the soul.

To say good morning.

To smile upon us.

To offer up its delightful, limitless repertoire.

And all that comes with it.

As morning breaks.

  Roger Summers is a journalist and essayist who spends time in Texas, New Mexico and England and in a world of curiosity and creativity. He is the author of The Day Camelot Came to Town and Heart Songs From a Washboard Road. He can be reached at

Washboard Road

Please click the book cover image to read more about the short story collection of Roger Summers: Heart Songs from a Washboard Road.

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  • Thanks – I did not know that birds could have thousands of songs. I will listen more carefully the next time one of the danged things wakes me up.

    I admire birds – they get to fly, but they have to bring up their babies with only a beak, and maybe one claw while they stand on the other: I couldn’t have done it.

    And after starving and freezing in the winter, they go cheerfully about their business.

    I couldn’t have done it.

    • Alicia,
      As a note to the different songs, the American philosopher Charles Hartshorne actually wrote an entire book devoted to the songs of birds. Among other things he pointed out that the same species of bird sings differently depending on the locale. In other words, birds have accents. Who would ever have thought it?

      • Roger Summers

        Stephen, heard on teevee that some GPS systems also have accents. Birds and GPS — who would have thunk it. Wonderful world, ours.

  • Caleb Pirtle

    Roger: one reason I get up at four every morning is to watch the day break and watch the world come alive. I may write to music. I work on Venture Galleries to the music of the birds, and sometimes I hard all ten thousand songs.

  • Beca Lewis

    Love this – birds singing – the best way to start the morning!!

  • Roger Summers

    Really nice to have my words posted with the great photography of Gerald Crawford. I have followed his exemplary work since his days at Southern Living.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Today was a nice blending of talent – words and photography that both pass for art.

  • Don Newbury

    Almost talked me to getting up early. Think I’ll opt to read beautiful words about morning, and take your words for it!

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