Carlos de Mockingbird

baby mockingbirdI saw the dog coming toward me.  My impulse was to move but I couldn’t.  As the dog bounded toward me, I looked up at the nest in the oak tree from which I’d fallen, fervently wishing I were there.

The woman yelled just as the dog’s mouth closed around me, but then something unexpected happened.  The dog held me gently in his mouth and walked to the woman, who by then had quit yelling.  The dog lowered me to the ground.  I blinked at the dog and the woman, then squeaked so hard that I lifted off the ground slightly.  The woman laughed, cradled her hands around me, and took me home.

I spent my early life inside the house with my people until my downy feathers turned into full-fledged feathers.  Then they started putting me on the rail of the deck—to acclimate me.  I lived in and liked both worlds, the wild one and the domesticated one.

Gradually I came into the house less and less often, although I did occasionally peer in the window to see what was happening.  I became friends with other birds, learned their songs, and started a family of my own.

The woman walks to her mailbox daily.  I swoop down and perch on the top of it, arriving just before she does.  She calls me by name and I sing a song for her.  Sometimes it’s a sparrow’s song, sometimes a wood thrush’s, sometimes a meadowlark’s.  She listens appreciatively, says a few kind words, then walks back to the house, sifting through her mail.  I watch her go, spread my wings, and fly.

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