sing it, midwestern mockingbird
Again this year, the 4th of July holiday found me sweating out in the Midwest. There’s something about this type of heat. Now I am not claiming that it’s ANYTHING compared to the summers in Australia or Sub-Saharan Africa, but it’s warm for a city girl who doesn’t tend to spend hours on end outside. My parents have been spending a lot of the day, or at least the early morning and mid-evening, outside so I tried to keep up. Initially I made fun of the dozen refillable water bottles in the garage’s refrigerator but the joke was clearly on me when I could down two of them in a sitting.
While there’s something inherently amazing about the vast sky and change of pace, nothing prepares me for the immense, near-constant stillness and the stars.
That’s probably what makes me love this ballsy mockingbird that perches on the very top of my parent’s roof. The fact that it is so still, so quiet (seriously, someone can be talking way down the road and you hear them as though they are right next to you) and this bird proceeds to sing as loud as possible, that is rather awesome. And it’s SIGNIFICANTLY better than the possum that was around a year ago (it was climbing up the bird feeder poles in the yard behind the house, talk about crazy and disgusting). I want to say that I love all animals but possums test that philosophy.
I guess there’s a lot you don’t learn when it’s not in your everyday. We lived in pretty normal neighborhoods growing up so this house out in the country is even more of a stark contrast to my life in NYC given the fact that I never really lived there myself. So… not being somewhere that a mockingbird might chose to live for most of the year, I didn’t really think about the fact that they have a series of songs. And, even cooler, these songs or calls or noises are actually mocks of other birds, insects, and amphipians that the bird is around. It learns from these other creatures and sings back to them or calls out to them.
I suppose that could be seen as annoying but I like to think of it as sweet. And pretty creative. A little bird actor, speaking the lines of others (okay, that might have gone too far). In any case, this mockingbird has been hanging out during the nicer weather for the last year so I consider it part of the family now. And even dripping in sweat while helping my father put up the deer chasers in the garden, I can still enjoy those seemingly disparate tunes.
And, to top it off, I remembered this Mockingbird song (mock, yeah, king, yeah, bird, yeah) that I must have heard somewhere. And, yes, I did sing it to the bird myself- maybe it will have learned it by the Spring and we’ll rock a call and response duet.
Hope the summer is treating you fine, drink water and watch out for a crazy little white and gray possum- I don’t trust him at all.