Thursday, October 25, 2012

Winter Territory


     In the next couple of weeks the community of Mockingbirds will settle toward the essential outlines of their Winter Territories.  And while it would be so much more straightforward if individual Mockingbirds did not all look very much alike, I have decided it's possible to distinguish those Boy Mockingbirds who have a sense of confidence about their winter, from those Boy Mockingbirds who do not.   That Close Mockingbird who has claim to the North East of the front porch, is a nervous wreck.   He has, as his main worry, possession of two shrubs, both of which are well laden with berry.  It is a rich spot, with a corner, around which he can find shelter from a brisk North West Gales, he can warm to the morning sun, take a dip in the gutter after rain, and it's not hard for him to pop up to the gable where he has a good enough view of all other Mockingbird Territories.  He is terribly bad tempered, he growls at me every morning, and sometimes even at night.  I have seen him chase a young Chipmunk, he's allergic to Dove, and I have tried to soothe him though confident whispering, but probably he just doesn't like the smoke from Tobacco, which is after all a discourager of insects, one of his food sources, as well as it having the more obvious benefit from the opportunity it provides to reduce the burden of  longevity by several decades.

      To the Close Mockingbird's South,  is the territory of Cedar Mockingbird.  This territory also has a gable upon which to sit and gaze into futures unknown.  And I too have sat up there, and I can tell you it would be a great deal less unsettling up there if a person could fly, or had a parachute.   But the Cedar Mockingbird's own preference is the very top of the electric pole, which is just that little bit taller.  And there is news from his comrade in life, because at this past conference of molting, she fed well upon the Caterpillar of Wild Cabbage, and other deliciousness, and her tail feathers filled out. So she too is pretty pleased with herself, and joins him around the compost piles where they demonstrate trust by taking absolutely no notice of each other.  And they'll sing, serene and comfortable, often quite beautiful. She to nothing in particular, but when he sings, he addresses Close Mockingbird land, its cubbyholes and plenty and its irritable Lord.  And as to the question, how is it I know the Girl Cedar Mockingbird is not some sweet thing, fresh from an egg, but is the same Old Girl Mockingbird who has indeed recovered from attack by Tail Feather Mite?  I could tell you, but much better to find meaning in the glimpse I had of her, while digging the outhouse, which is firmly on Cedar Mockingbird land.  Her old fool was dressing up and gathering steam for one more foray Northward, and again she appeared to do no more than admire her new tail and gleam.  And maybe tomorrow I'll take a first breath of new morning air somewhere other than the front porch, somewhere less dominated by ill-temper from worry, that sort of caterwaul of selfish, like a leak in the roof.  Or maybe I am just delusional and require exorcism by fried egg, mustard, Green Bean and Tomato sandwich.  


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