“I’d count myself lucky,” I said to her, or something like that. Was I snippy? Too harsh? I can’t remember, but I know there was a stiffness in me when I spoke, and I’m pretty sure I sounded critical. I was judging her because I couldn’t understand how having a mockingbird singing outside your window would be reason to lament, even in the middle of the night. “I’d count myself lucky,” I said. And I’ve been lucky in the last few weeks. There’s one who comes now to the electrical pole not far from the window by my bed. He sings from his perch there during the day, but it’s the late night hours I find the most enchanting. It reminds me of living in Santa Rosa years ago, not many months after I first learned who the mockingbird is. One would come to the tree outside my bedroom window and serenade our quiet neighborhood in the middle of the summer nights. It always felt like a dream, like magic, a holy visit. Now when I hear our Palm Springs mockingbird singing when the rest of the world is silent, that same sense of enchantment comes over me. I relish his song while I lie in bed, the way I savor the sound of raindrops on the roof, sometimes only half waking in the dark, like a lullaby, sending me deeper into dreams. The late night singing feeds me freesias and night-blooming jasmine, fresh sea air and moonlight on water. It feeds me stars and the night sky, the scent of moist dirt rising. Not once have I wanted to stop his singing, only to be able to keep listening, keep soaking it up like the dry earth soaks up rain. The mockingbird’s song is a dance, a celebration, an invitation to take wing. My heart soars with his cadence, and I slide back into sleep.
I feel your enchantment Riba! Some of the birds that frequent my mango tree are returning, have been visiting on and off since early April in fact, and their anticipation of a bountiful harvest is palpable as well! Beautiful writing as always ;-)
I’ve too have always loved the sounds of the mockingbird. It intrigues me that it can so effortlessly make make so many beautiful sounds. Unlike human sounds, it doesn’t bother me at night.
Thank you both for your notes! When I was writing this I found myself wondering how I would live without birds in my world—and may we never have to! They are such a presence even when I’m not paying attention. When I tune in, it seems like there is always someone there. :)
Hi Riba, waiting for 7 :-)
Hee hee hee! You and me both, Madhu! I was on a very short roll of being on time with these and then I lost it completely. I am actually hopeful I can begin catching up today. ;-)
BTW, Madhu, I got to see your gorgeous return visitors and new arrivals to your mango tree! :)