Tuesday, April 24, 2007

night music

Hush little baby, don't say a word;
Papa's gonna buy you a mocking- bird.

The song should end right there, because the following verse, which begins, if that mockingbird don't sing, is something that just AIN'T gonna happen.

I've been thinking about the bio-clocks of mockingbirds. I believe I could set my clocks to the mockingbird who sings outside my bedroom window. His song begins about 2:30 am and seems to continue nearly nonstop until dusk. I can see him through the window, usually perched in a particular tree, but sometimes flitting to the electrical wires above or to another tree, singing even as he is in flight. During the day his song is sometimes lost in the cacophony of the cardinals, the doves, the woodpeckers, and of course the sparrows, but I can almost always pick him out even while he imitates his neighbors. Such a talented creature. It's sometimes mentioned in books that these birds can imitate machinery, which sounds kind of crazy, but I have heard a mockingbird imitating a car alarm. Someone in my old neighborhood had an alarm that went off at the slightest vibration. It was one of those alarms that cycled through about ten different noises. Now, the bird that mimicked the car alarm didn't sound exactly like it, but it had the cadence, the spacing between each sound and the up and down flow of volume down to perfection. I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing.

There was nothing to do at work again yesterday so I had the day off. At the rate the work is coming in I'll have used all my vacation days by the time my scheduled vacation week rolls around. So I stayed home and tried to put some order to the workshed. I cut and installed some wooden shelves and hung two fluorescent shop lights and somehow used up all my energy by 3 pm yesterday. I was worn out and went to bed early. I couldn't sleep because my physical tiredness was in deep conflict with my internal clock that said it wasn't bedtime.

And then at 2:32 am, just when I was drifting off, the mockingbird started his aria.

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