Scrapbook Bird

Posted: July 22, 2010 in Uncategorized
Mockingbird on a fence
Mockingbird on a fence


There are days, when I, lost in a summer vacation of nothingness, just like to join my cat on the back porch and patrol the backyard. We prowl behind the screen and attack wasp nests and earthworms with a fury. I rescue lizards that have made big mistakes by blundering in unwelcome (my porch is their graveyard). My cat sunbathes himself. Sometimes we hear Italian opera, a splash and carefree whoops from our neighbor’s pool, the screech of scorched tires, but they are just in the distance. I hear people talking on the other side of the fence, and footsteps, but I do not listen.

We get plenty of visitors. Or we used to. The squirrels that drank peacefully from the pond have been intimidated by Tiger. So have the frogs and the cooing doves, notifying us of their arrival with their cooing, a wail that I used to hear every morning.

The mockingbirds have never given up on me because of my adorable, out-of-shape cat. They chatter loudly to each other, spreading their wings aggressively, perched on lamp posts and dormant lawn sprinklers, occasionally shrieking in rage.

Mockingbirds are famously known for their varied songs, from a cat’s meow to a car alarm. I’ve always thought of them as singing scrapbooks. Who knows if they still can sing the song of an extinct creature? If they witnessed the screams of a victim and flew back to greet their screeching echoes? Everything they’ve heard gets recorded in the little tape recorder in their brain, or in that mental scrapbook.

They’ll drop by to say hi, soaring against the blue ceiling with white taped on their wings. They dart around, chasing each other, forever youthful. Our world, driven by drugs, guns, and Protestant Work Ethic, is their playground.

They’re fearless, dauntless, and absolutely persistent. If that hawk stole their favorite lamp-post, they’ll do anything to get it back. They’ll beat their wings in its face, swoop around menacingly, even clench and unclench their grappling hook claws. Not that it does anything–the hawk will just remain on the lamp-post, eyes narrowed with smug contempt and superiority. They’ll harass crows, cooing doves, cats, anything that doesn’t meet their standards gets deported.

I wish I could see into the jolly bird’s mind. Look at the world from its perspective. If we could, sight would turn into insight. You’ve got a day to spend, and you won’t know if you’ll live to see the next. Go out there and have fun, take risks, be a daredevil. After all, if we’re all going to die, we might as well breathe. No longer would people contemplate life. Pain, death, and nonexistence…those are not leaps of faith. Living is. And that is what the mockingbird taught me.


  1. Jingle says:

    love the bird,

    best wishes…

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