“It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,” Attics Finch told his daughter, Scout.
This sentence revolved around in my head the other day when I was at lunch. I often sit in my car at noon (when it isn’t 110 in the shade) to read and take to a break from the 8-5 insanity that my financial circumstances demand I put up with, at least for the time being.
On this particular day the sun was shining, a light breeze blew the wonderful scent of freshly cut grass through my open car window, and a mockingbird was going ape in the tree behind me.
This official bird of Arkansas sang, and sang, and sang. At times his voice trilled up and down the scale only to dip into a musical tune whistled with such richness and vigor it was a wonder his little throat didn’t burst.
When he got tired of singing, he’d launch into imitations of “here kitty, kitty.” (I swear it sounded just like that.) And, he’d whistle for the horses the way I did when I called my million dollar horse to me.
Mockingbirds are very territorial especially if they have a nest near by. My brother got attacked one summer by an overprotective mama mockingbird. I thought it quite funny when she pecked him on the head, but Jim failed to see the humor in it. And you’re dead meat if you’re a cat taking 40 winks under the bushes where there is a nest. Mama and Daddy mockingbird will take turns diving bombing Morris until he gives up and finds another spot for his catnap.
But for the most part Mockingbirds are content to sit on a guide wire, a telephone pole, or a tree branch and sing their little hearts out because they are happy.
I’ve never heard an unhappy bird. Have you?
When lunch hour was over, I stood at my car door, looked up at the little songbird that had given me an hour long concert free of charge, and said out loud, “Thank you.”
As I walked across the lot to the side door, I gave thanks for many things: Thank you God for creating birds and their songs, thank you for giving me ears to hear them with and eyes to see them. Thank you for the trees they sit and live in.
When five o’clock finally rolled around and I was free at last, I walked to my car and laughed. Mr. Mockingbird was still at it: singing his merry tunes and calling the kitty-cats. I wondered how long he could sing without going hoarse.
Do birds loose their voices?
Something on my windshield caught my attention—a feather—a gray and white feather. A gift of gratitude from a bird whose only purpose in life is to bring sweet music into the world.
The feather is in my office—a reminder to stop and smell the roses, feel the wind on my face, listen to the simple song of the birds—to chill out.
Thank you God for the Mockingbird.