Mockingbird imagination has entered winter, and
there are a few too many Mockingbirds.
will have to pioneer new territory, otherwise there will be an insufficiency
of space for winter harmony. I could look for cooperation and
sharing, but from their calls and their quarrelling I understand there
will be no such politics of frustration for them. Battle lines are
drawn, there will be winners and there will be losers because each
believes he will not lose.
Soon I will know the Close
Mockingbird. He will dominate the house and its Maple trees.
And soon I will know the Far Mockingbird. He will dominate the far
side of the barn where cedar grows with sumac. The others will
travel to places which are less familiar. Perhaps find new homes,
perhaps raise their heads again to old songs as they learn new songs.
Such observations mean that I call Mockingbirds by their address, not by
an association with them as individuals. But of those Mockingbirds
quarrelling today, there is one I can call by his voice.
He sits deep in the Ornamental Almonds,
and when the quarrelling begins he does not join the debate, rather he
shuffles the leaves of the Almond bush and he rasps like an irate Wren, then
flits to the Cherry tree where he does the same. Which may or may not
be brilliant strategy in what is a battle for land.
Mockingbirds I believe sing for the joy
of it, so probably by tomorrow he will be tempted to fly up there to dance
and chase with the others, and I will no longer know him amongst the
multitude of voices and movement. But this does not stop me from
firmly hoping he becomes the Close Mockingbird.
And why this is I am not sure because
when I passed the Cherry tree this morning, his rasping gave me a fright
that spilled my cup of coffee, set the heart to unnatural exercise, and set
the mind to thoughts of the final curtain.
Now I am stuck with the memory of him,
and the possibility that his unique strategy will fail. He will be
chased away into the peripheries, where he will be lonely without me to
alarm. Nor will I ever know whether he does become the Close
Mockingbird, so I must think of him as belonging to something greater than
Then if I survive the winter to hear the
rasp of a Wren from something dancing amongst Spring blooms of Almond and
Cherry, I can become an old fool and I can pretend to recognize him and we
can congratulate each other.