Sunday, June 25, 2006

If that mockingbird don't sing...

It’s Sunday late morning, June 25th, 2006. I’m sitting on my front porch swing here enjoying the moment. The sky is definitely overcast and a slightly cool yet humid wind has just kicked up - the kind that precedes a storm. As it breezes through the yard it’s picking up the wonderful sweet scent of the lilies and the heavily bloomed butterfly bush. It’s also is slightly tinged with the vanilla scented aroma of waffles which is making me very hungry.

I have my window slightly open so I can hear the classical music channel and about 25 feet away from me I’ve been watching a mother mocking bird feed and her hatchlings in the nest, which she has constructed deep within a row of hedges in the neighbor's yard.

I’m not an expert on mocking birds, but I think this is something that they do. They like to nest low to the ground usually in hedges or something of that sort. In fact, I just found this online “The Northern Mockingbird builds a twig nest in a dense shrub or tree, which it aggressively defends against other birds and animals, including humans. When a predator is persistent, Mockingbirds from neighboring territories, summoned by a distinct call, may join the attack. Other birds may gather to watch as the Mockingbirds harass the intruder.”

This is what I’ve been watching this morning. I’ve seen her fend off several other birds, a few squirrels and even a cat. In the past, I’ve seen them swoop at people. I have always liked the mockingbird though I have read that others sometimes find them annoying. I love the fact that they mimic other birds, even machines. I read that the adult male has a repertoire of 50 to 200 songs! Amazing.

I remember very clearly my first encounter with the mockingbird. I was in 2nd grade at T.C. Cherry Elementary school in Bowling Green, KY. I was in art class, which, of course, was my favorite place to be in, even then. At that time, the class room reserved for art wasn’t actually in the school building, but it was in held behind the school in this very mod looking trailer- like construction. It was avocado green with burnt orange carpet. There were 3 of these trailers in all, I believe, one for art, one for music class and the other for band.

So, in the middle of the art class when Mrs. McElvey ( a very sweet older woman and the art teacher) was explaining something, she suddenly stopped and with a hushed voice she told us to very quietly stop and to look out the window. Sitting on a branch so close to the window that it could have flown in, was a huge male Northern Mockingbird. She explained in a quick whisper about the bird’s ability to mock other birds and that if we were very quiet perhaps it would perform for us.

Almost as if on cue, the moment after she said that, the bird began to sing. It went on and on for what seemed like an eternity singing all types of different songs from other local birds. It was absolutely magical and the entire class sat perfectly still and silently transfixed, in awe by his songs. I’ll never forget it.

So, as I’m sitting here, about 10 minutes ago, a huge boxer dog and a basset hound came happily running up the street like something from a Disney film. I watched them run from yard to yard up the street. Just now, a police officer stopped her car on the curb in front of the house and asked me if I happened to see a Boxer and Basset hound. Like something from an old comedy flick, I said, “they went that-a-way” and pointed. She said thanks, turned around the car and went that a way.

I’m not kidding, I just this second, had a tall shirtless, tattoo covered man with a crew cut and a gravely voice ask me if I had seen a Boxer and a Basset hound. He was carrying two leashes. Of course, you know my response.

On a different and sadder note, I found out on Friday that the mother of a very close friend of mine died. Her name was Elizabeth Eade and she was a lovely woman. I last saw her in January when she came to one of my art openings and purchased one of my paintings. Her daughter Mary and I are extremely close. She and I are part of a tight circle of immensely close friends that have been part of each other’s lives for close to 30 years.

Out of this circle I had been the only one who had lost both parents, until now. It’s something that you can only understand once it happens.

On that note, I will close by saying, Mary, if you happen to read this, know that I love you and that I thought that your mother was an amazing and wonderful woman who will be missed by all who had the fortunate experience of having her enter their lives.

In Memoriam...
Elizabeth Eade
1923 - 2006

1 comment:

Kaverr said...

Hey Great Blog! Love the mockingbird stuff!

Maybe you could check out my blog sometime, even though you'll problably say it totally sucks, which it does, but just tell me what you think.