In 1991 while preparing in the desserts of Saudi Arabia for the Gulf War, I found I was being woken every morning at around 5am to the sound of what I can only describe as someone playing a flute, it has to be said it was a beautiful sound indeed and I use to just lay there listening to it.
This went on for several days and I began to wonder who could be playing this flute? especially at five in the morning, nor was I was not aware that any of my men could play an instrument. I decided I would find out who it was, so at the end of my morning briefing I asked.
“OK which one of you is playing a flute at five in the morning”?
My men all looked at me as if I had well and truly lost it, “Boss what are you on about, has the prospect of the war got to you already” came one reply, others believed I had just landed from Mars.
I insisted that someone was playing a flute and it was OK as I thought it was wonderful, “now we know you have lost it” came another response as they walked away to get on with their tasks for the day.
“OK”, I said “I will find out who it is”, and so the next morning I awoke once again to this beautiful sound. I jumped out of my sleeping bag and started to head towards where the sound was coming from. I must have walked for about 10 minutes or so, as I rounded one of the many sand dunes I encountered I eventually came to the place where the sound of the flute was coming from.
I was drawn to look up and to my astonishment and total amazement I saw a Hoopoe Lark falling like a stone and tumbling on its way to the ground, having climbed to a great height, it was singing as it tumbled. I concluded that it was the larks singing being cast in all directions and as the song bounced of the sand dunes, this was clearly the sound of the flute.
This has remained with me and without doubt is the most beautiful song I have ever heard, in fact as I write this I have come over all emotional from the recall. Such beauty in the mist of what we were about to enter into was something quite surreal, in amongst the horrors of WAR beauty can be found.
“We just need to be open to it”.