Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Seventh Street/Mockingbirg Lane

Last Monday morning she slowly opened her eyes, emerging from a deep dream-riddled sleep, to the sounds of a dozen species of birds, it seemed, singing right outside her window. When she pulled her sleepy, groggy-eyed self to her elbows to look out her second story window just above the head of her bed, that she had opened the night before to let the fresh air in, expecting to see an aviary of colors and nearly every species of bird perched on the power lines just across the street, she laughed.

Back from that place it flies off to in order to escape winter, was the mockingbird. Sleek gray body, a long tail that usually is at a right angle with it's back unless it is bobbing around to create balance on those skinny little legs, the mockingbird sings the song of every other birdkind it has encountered while traveling, along with the songs of the Midwest bird families it lives with all summer.

On Tuesday, it seemed the little bird with the loud voice had moved almost imperceptibly closer to her open window. At six o'clock that morning, the morning starting a little earlier as the earth moved closer to summer, she shook herself awake and smiled out the window at her new alarm clock. "I've missed you," she said to the mockingbird.

On Wednesday morning, the "alarm" sounded at 5:59. It was beginning to sound like possibly the Bird Population had escaped from their confines somewhere and had taken up residence on the wire across the street. But she glanced at her clock and snuggled back under the covers for fifteen more minutes, reaching up to close the window over the bed.

On Thursday morning, at 5:58, without bothering to look, she slammed the window closed on the choir with the incredible playlist rehearsing outside, seemingly on her windowsill.

Then it was Friday. 5:57. She rubbed her eyes and sprang out of bed, made coffee and sat on her front porch so she could throw rocks at the mockingbird across the street. The beautiful little bird watched her with amusement, first singing a Robin song, then a Cardinal song, then some mixture. A rock zipped past his little head and he never missed a beat.

"Are you frickin' BLIND?" She screamed! "These rocks could seriously injury you!"

The mockingbird sort of did a little bob on the wire, clearing his throat for the next barage of songs, and she grabbed her coffee cup off the step and stomped into the house where she closed all the windows and turned up the volume of her own music inside.

It became a competition, then, with the little guy outside quickly mastering nearly any music she played, running through the octaves and sclaes like a child with a choral instructor.

That night she went to bed late, knowing that Saturday morning was on the horizon when she could sleep in, recuperate from a long, stressful work week. She pulled the shades to keep the room a little darker a little longer.

Saturday morning dawned at 5:57 when she heard her cell phone ringing by her bed.

All of her friends in all of the time zones they represented, knew better than to call her before dawn on Saturday, unless it was bad news, and she sat up, fished the phone off the nightstand where it was hidden under a book or two, dropped it, quickly got out of bed to retrieve it, stubbed her already-sore toe. She clicked it open, "Hello?? Hello???"

She pushed the menu button, scrolled, found the recent received calls list on the menu. There was nothing there. No missed calls, no recently received calls. And then she heard it. The ring tone of her phone, perfectly imitated, from outside.

"Okay," she said quietly. "You win."

She crawled back into bed and opened the window wide, now after finally bowing to Mother Nature's sense of humor, and fell back to sleep right in the middle of the aviary she owned, and the mockingbird sang.

Learning to co-exist made for peace in the neighborhood.

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