Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by clattering and thumping on the back porch. I jumped from bed, knowing all too well what was going on. Through the vertical blinds on the sliding glass doors of our bedroom I peeped into the darkness, then flipped on the back porch light switch. Sure enough, there was a raccoon sitting atop a metal trash can we use to store deer feed. Occasionally, when the feeders at the base of the slope are emptied, raccoons venture up top where they sniff their way to the powerful scent of food. Fortunately, we affixed bungee cords across the trash can lids to keep nimble paws and sharp teeth from ransacking our feed supply.
Having sufficiently scared off the morning visitor, I was now wide awake, so I decided I may as well get up. And, considering the early hour (4:50 in the morning), a hot cup of coffee sounded mighty inviting! With flashlight in hand, I donned my heavy coat and escorted our three Japanese Chin to the front yard for their morning business while my coffee brewed. Snowflakes were just beginning to fall. I found myself feeling excited to watch the wintry morning evolve.
By 9:00, a heavy snowfall had blanketed the landscape. Sleet fell in short intervals, then changed to giant flakes of snow, and back to tiny, almost dust-like particles of ice. Birds were congregating at the feeders, so I covered my camera and zoom lens with a rain jacket and headed out for some photos. Venturing close to the “hopper” bird feeder, I was surprised to see a Mockingbird sitting atop. It did not budge as I moved closer. How odd! Finally, though, it flew off to the shrubs under the kitchen window of the house.
I wondered if it was the same mockingbird I had been seeing around the yard lately? Mockingbirds live in Oklahoma all year long, so appearances in winter are not uncommon. As I spent the next hour outdoors, taking in the snowy atmosphere and photographing whatever looked interesting, I could not help but notice this same Mockingbird appearing many times. Even when I headed down the slope to the woodland area where I found Daisy and Spirit browsing vegetation, my new little friend followed via air. That was when it dawned on me that this little mockingbird might be a messenger or perhaps an animal guide. Many times in the woodlands, some kind of wildlife will appear when I am open to learn something new – to have understanding about something. Daisy deer had shown me this long ago – to be open to the gifts of nature. I knew that the continual appearance of the mockingbird required my attention, respect, and attentiveness. I was excited! Nature was speaking, and I was ready to listen once again!
As I entered the warmth of the house and shed my boots and heavy coat, my mind was already throwing around ideas of what Mockingbird’s message was for me. I first thought about the song of the mockingbird. Generally perched out in the open on a high tree limb or snag, this vocal character sings out its medley of various bird calls, performing them all with great zest and gusto!
As I researched mockingbird behavior and habitats, I felt a connection with its solitary ways and need to defend and protect its territory. But none of that was really speaking to me. It always came back to a strong feeling about the mockingbird song and the way it fearlessly sang its songs – all borrowed from other birds. There was something about the many vocalizations it chirped and called out, as if it were a town crier getting out an urgent message – yet also a reflection of happiness and joy! What did this mean for me? What was my song? What would my message be, sitting high atop a mountain, if I were sharing my song with the world? Sadly, I reminded myself that I was never considered to be a talented singer or speaker. Memories of a 3rd grade parent-teacher conference popped into my head. The teacher commented to my mom that I could not carry a tune in a bucket, and to boot, “She’s so terribly shy – I can’t seem to get her to speak in class”. I could never be a mockingbird! And even if I did have a message, what if people made fun of me and laughed? What if they mocked me?
And then, suddenly, it was all very apparent to me. I had recently committed to writing a book about my experience raising Daisy deer. So many friends in the blogging community had voiced a desire to see a book and encouraged me to write that book. Deep down, I knew I wanted to document Daisy’s story and share it with the world – how raising an orphaned fawn changed the way I looked at life. The blog stories about Daisy have all been well received and loved by countless people. But after spending time organizing and planning my book, I became overwhelmed and began to lose courage. I was insecure about being “good enough” to write this book. What if it was a colossal failure? A few people had already been discouraging to me when I told them what I was working on. Trying to let me down easy, they reminded me it was so very difficult to make it in the writing and publishing business. I wondered; was I just wasting my time?
Through my research of what the Mockingbird’s message might be, I learned the “soul” purpose of its presence was to help me recognize my innate abilities. Communicating is part of what Mockingbird teaches. He also flushes out any negativity with his confident voice. He teaches fearlessness and strength. I realized I did have a message to sing. I had my own song and experience to communicate with people. Why was I listening to nay-sayers and worrying about mockers when I had a happy and joyous message to tell the world? Now I understood Mockingbird’s gift to me. He would teach me how to have the courage and accomplish the balance I needed to proceed on this newest adventure of my journey.
As I stepped outside to do my evening chores, I saw the Mockingbird perched at the heated bird bath on our back porch. I stepped back inside to retrieve my camera, half expecting my friend to fly off, but he did not. Instead, he continued to take big gulps of water, gobbling the refreshment down. I snapped a few photographs, and finally he flitted a short distance to the nearby coral honeysuckle where I watched him eat a plump, red berry. He seemed to be saying, “I’ll be glad to stick around here for a while, mate. Just in case you need some singing lessons and encouragement!”.
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…