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Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 11:11 am

Rooster’s crow as old as time

Weldon Payne

What if one morning there should be no roosters in our paved world to announce arrival of another day?

It has been a while since I’ve heard a rooster crow, but who can forget that sound, lifting from some barnyard’s darkness, strong, sure, distant affirmation that night is passing and light is on its way. More than that, a cock’s crowing is filled with promise that life goes on; morning is coming and with it light and men and women going about the many things that they will do before another sundown.

The cock’s crow seems to come from hollow Time itself, a clarion call from “out there” where planets spin and also from mysterious past — all the way from my childhood and earlier unmistakable and unchanged forever-voice crying from mist of a farm pond, from grassless barn-lot, from pebbled and sandy, swept yard — a rooster crowing on a cold icy morning. Or crowing just ahead of the coming heat of another summer’s day.

There was a time in my tiny world when nearly everybody had a rooster. His urgent voice would cut through the outside darkness on nights that a light burned inside our house — nights when Mama sat up to monitor a fever, to bring medicine, to rub on more Vicks salve or bring cough drops or empty a slop-jar — there the whole night, and with light breaking in the East, a rooster would crow saying the old is breaking like a shell making way for the new. Again. Perhaps that’s what roosters are saying the world over: translated their crows saying: “Again. It is happening again.”

I think a rooster’s crowing just before daylight is one of the prettiest sounds in the world, as old as Time itself. And I worry sometimes that some morning it will not be true anymore; that this majestic call that has celebrated the arrival of morning throughout the ages will be silent.

What a chilling silence this would be; what a sad and lonely daylight without the sure and certain voice from forever.