“How do you silence a rooster? Well, other than a 12-gauge?”
By: Jamie Miles
Breathing. A rather quiet activity. Then you wake up in the middle of the night and hear your sweetly sleeping husband’s breath going in and out, in and out. After that, sleep runs from you far as Moscow. Hard to get mad at him for just breathing, but in the stillness -- it’s LOUD. Drives me batty. Politely, I poke and prod to get him to stop breathing. Well, stop breathing loudly.
Why does something so unnoticeable during waking hours glare as the searing pain of a splinter in the silence of the dark? Take the rooster’s crow.
There used to be a rooster in town. Now he might still strut this earth, I just don’t hear him. I miss him. Don’t know if his owners do. Don’t know if his used-to-be neighbors do. Don’t know what resulted in his demise. Maybe swift sword of city ordinance or just a swift sword?
Now people do dreadful things to silence roosters. Some quiet a cock’s song by voice box removal, some snip tongues (both terribly cruel). Castrating the poor fellow doesn’t work. Capons still crow… albeit a much higher pitch. Still a few invite the offending rooster into the house for dinner. Yes, welcomed inside for a finger-lickn’ good meal. But last time I checked, roosters possess really large, really taking-care-of-business talons -- hence no fingers to lick. Uh oh, Mr. Comb.
Now some have silenced crowers placing them in tiny covered cages. While dark, they think it is night and stay mute.
My feathered nemesis is never silent those nights I waken, tossing and turning, the amplified volume of my breath leaving me sleepless. That arrogant cock shrieks loudly; once, twice – even a third time.
That maddening rooster. There’s no denying that once I’ve woken, sleep runs far past Moscow. Deep rest flees rapidly towards Tokyo. My mind tumbles with all that’s unsaid, not mended, not atoned. A 3 a.m., quiet riot.
As easily I slip into fret and denial, the rooster can’t help but crow. Battened down, dark and tight as a tick in some cage; the second sensing light, he gloriously cries. In the silent tomb of a small covered box that stubborn, fowl creature feverishly anticipates dawn.
My husband can’t stop breathing. I can’t stop waking in the middle of the night.
Roosters crow all the time. We just aren’t listening.
Only in the quiet of early morning light does the pure brilliance of the cock’s cry penetrate every cell. Grabbing in, grasping on, and never letting go -- all the way down to the tiniest fibers of your purple-painted, neatly manicured, constantly-striving talons.
Though deepest dark presses down some nights, the sun breaks free each morning.
He’s calling all the time, you know.
Anticipate the dawn.
PRINTED IN THE APRIL 9, 2009 EDITION