The Presence of Mockingbird

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.

The wildlife feed and water area blanketed in early morning snow.
The wildlife feed and water area blanketed in early morning snow.
This was Spirit's first snow day. She looks very contented in her warm winter coat!
This was Spirit’s first snow day. She looks very contented in her warm winter coat!
Daisy and Spirit search for good eats on a cold, snowy morning.
Daisy and Spirit search for good eats on a cold, snowy morning.

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.

My mockingbird friend makes himself at home on top of the bird feeder!
My mockingbird friend makes himself at home on top of the bird feeder!

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.

Mockingbird keeping an eye on me while I continue my photography down in the woodlands.
Mockingbird keeping an eye on me while I continue my photography down in the woodlands.

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?

Again, I see my friend perched just above me on the ATV buggy path in the woods. He seems to be keeping a close eye on me!
Again, I see my friend perched just above me on the ATV buggy path in the woods. He seems to be keeping a close eye on 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.

The mockingbird takes a bit of respite at the heated bird bath and gobbles a berry from a nearby honeysuckle vine.
The mockingbird takes a bit of respite at the heated bird bath and gobbles a berry from a nearby honeysuckle vine.

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!”.

Mockingbird on Back Porch

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


54 thoughts on “The Presence of Mockingbird

  1. Another excellent post. I really like the Mockingbird experience. So very interesting. I just know that your book is going to be great. Take your time and and “make it and own it” for yourself and all the people who believe in you and who know the goodness of your heart. Happy writing.

    ~yvonne

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  2. Lori, I have tears in my eyes. How wonderful that a little bird could help you to find your voice and courage. I’ve been waiting for some time to hear this news from you.

    I used to tell my students who said they “couldn’t _____” that if they tried, then they might, but if they said they couldn’t then they never would. We do not know the strength we have to do a thing until we try. I am so glad you are!

    God bless the little bird and his message, and God bless you on your new journey!

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    1. What a beautiful post, and how wonderful to hear you are beginning to write a book about Daisy! I can’t wait to read it. You are a talented writer and I feel like I know Daisy personally through your posts. You can do it 🙂

      And the people who have been discouraging? Their opinion’s don’t matter. I feel sorry for them because they probably don’t have any dreams and ambitions of their own, and are not open to the opportunities life and nature provide. You have over 3,000 followers on here – and I bet every one cannot wait to read your book.

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      1. Oh thank you Rachel! I have always appreciated your support and encouragement. I think in part, people feel like they need to “cushion” the disappointment and hurt they feel could happen if the book didn’t do well (at least their idea of what is successful). Whether the book does great or not, I am just excited to get the Daisy story out there, to share this awesome and beautiful journey. Daisy is special and she changed the way I look at life… and I think people like a beautiful story. Haven’t we all been fascinated by Bambi’s story all of these years?

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        1. My boyfriend is 26 and he loves Bambi! Which means he has been inevitably drawn into the world of Daisy deer too!

          I came across a quote once –
          ‘There are three types of people in this world. Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what they hell happened.’

          You are the former. They are the second. You go girl!

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          1. Ha ha ha!! I think I know a lot of people who fit under the last type! Thank you so much for the vote of confidence. When the book comes out perhaps I can get Daisy to stamp a hoof on your boyfriend’s copy!

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  3. Hurray for Mockingbird! I’m glad you heard his message and will be more confident about getting your book written. I know you can do it, and I know it will be wonderful and you will be SO happy you did it. xoxo

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    1. Thank you Kim! I thought of you when I saw the mockingbird that day! I always think of you when I spend time with the birds of the woodlands. I am thankful for the gift of our friendship, and all that bonds us as friends. You are special.

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  4. A wonderful little tale about what happens when we just slow down and pay attention to things around us. They are there every day. And as you have learned to understand, they often can teach us a thing or two.

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    1. Thank you, and I couldn’t agree more with your wise words. Nature provides so many opportunities to learn, if only we pay attention! Thank you for your kind comment, my friend!

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  5. I’m sitting next to you on that boat of writers fears! 🙂 You only live once… I tell myself that a lot. Mr. Mocking bird was surely telling you to that staying quiet and not trying isn’t an option in his book. I’ve got a sticker in my garage that reads, ‘Don’t say it can’t be done when’s there’s already people doing it’. Encouragement can come from others, but the real power to do things will always come from inside yourself. Just do it. 🙂

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        1. Ha ha ha!! I have never heard a gobble song from Mr. Mockingbird, but I sure have seen and heard plenty of woodland gobblers in the spring and fall months. Usually each summer I observe hens with their poults following but I didn’t notice any this year.

          We all need friends to help motivate us from time to time. The blogging community is a great bunch to connect with on that note!

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  6. Don’t take this the wrong way, old friend, i loved this post… but you need to GET TO WORK ON THAT BOOK!
    Seriously, take your time and create something you can be proud of, but take the first step – NOW!

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  7. Hi, goodness you’re being busy posting and photographing. Is it because you’ve put your plot to bed for the winter? Your ice photos are great and those leaves make such a beautiful background for the blog.
    About writing. I’ve so often thought that your experiences would make a great book, which you can illustrate with your wonderful photos. Why anybody would want to discourage you I don’t know. Well actually I think I do. Sometimes people close to us don’t want to see us change and move into the wider world and I speak from experience as I’m on the cusp of a new career myself. With your 3,000 plus followers you don’t need an agent or traditional publisher. You can publish yourself on Kindle or other ebook networks, promote your book here. It will be a best seller in no time and probably taken up by a paper publisher. If you need an extra reader for your draft I’d love to help, although I must warn you I’m as an editor I’m a perfectionist and really get into the details.
    Go for it. I know you can do it.

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    1. Oh my goodness Henrietta! If that comment doesn’t encourage me, nothing will! Your extensive background in writing, award-winning stories, and placement in numerous writing competitions – well, I would expect perfection, coming from you, my friend! You make valid points… and these are issues that I know very little about – agents and publishers. I may take you up on draft reading, and I would not be offended by your critique and advice. That is after all, how we hone our skills and blossom! Thank you so much for your encouragement and kind words. It means more than you know! ~ Lori

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  8. Wonderful post and beautiful lesson learned from nature/wildlife once again. A book on your whole experience with Daisy would be amazing! Your writing is beautiful and it was such a special experience; so many people would love to read that and see your incredible photos! It’s been so nice finding several new posts from you these past days – I had missed your posts! 🙂 Stay warm and I hope you have a happy thanksgiving!

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    1. Oh thank you so much… you always make me smile! I am finally done with outdoor work for the year, except of course my daily chores keeping the wildlife feeders filled, and making sure the water tub is filled with fresh water. It is a grand time of year to walk around with the camera and venture out a bit further than usual. I am looking forward to writing time, and perhaps organizing my photographs a bit more. Already I feel as if I’m flourishing the last days – producing several posts, with fingers flying across the keyboard! It’s good to be back… and welcomed by so many good friends. Happy Thanksgiving to you, and be sure to keep snuggly, warm yourself!

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    1. Ha ha!! I’m a fairly quiet person until I have to turn the volume up – like yelling across the pasture to FD that DINNER IS READY, or calling the dogs back when they’ve run a muck! Paulette, I hope you have a grand and happy holiday season. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful gift if we could find homes for all of our furry friends? Thank you for your dedication to rescue! You are one in a million my friend!

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  9. There are always nay-sayers out there. If you listen to them you will never do anything. You have to rise above them and do what your heart tells you. You can always self-publish a book and sell it from your blog. We will all buy a copy :). Remember what they say “Those who can… “Do” those who can’t “teach”” I choose to see the “teach” in this statement as attempt to “educate” everyone else to how amazing they are and how everyone else shouldn’t bother trying to attain anything because it is ALL too hard…the reason being that some people gain their own self confidence by putting other people down…making themselves feel superior (better) at other people’s expenses. Some might even think that they are doing you a favour…how arrogant! If Mr Einstein had listened to his parent/teachers when he was young we would never have heard of the theory of relativity…he was rubbish at school (everyone learns in different ways and school is just one of them). By the way that Mockingbird is lovely :). All I have to say on the matter is “You go girl!” Earl agrees, he has confidence in you 🙂

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    1. Thank you Fran! I could just feel the LICK of confidence Earl has bestowed on my face! LOL Your words are genuine and true. We all have gifts and talents, and we are all capable. I have always been sensitive and easily bruised. In my soul… the gut of me, I know I can do this, and more than anything, I want to do this! I need to go back to my post on the Armadillo and gird my loins for battle! Protect inner self, detach and be objective, retreat, withdraw and become reclusive… and then become mockingbird and sing my song!! Thank you for your inspiring words my wonderful friend!!

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      1. Bugger…I just lost my comment…sometimes WordPress REALLY grates me with its commenting system (mutter…) I was just trying to tell you that YOU are inspiring. Your photography alone would sell a book let alone your amazing story of meeting Daisy on the fringes where humanity meets nature. Its a publishers dream and might even get made into a movie it’s that good! Forget what other people say and think, what is important is what YOU think about yourself and that little mockingbird is a perfect example…he is small, inconsequential and unremarkable but MAN can he sing! Everyone has something special about them…something unique that lights up the room and you have your passion that blends into your photography as well as how you write. That colours your words and your images with vivid and most beautiful honesty. You just need a bit of confidence in yourself girl…hard when you are shy but when I was a little girl I was incredibly shy as well. I know you might find that hard to believe but I was…isn’t it amazing how life can change you? 🙂 Earl sends 4 extra licks and a slobber for good luck with the publishing deal :). He would also like to offer is urinary services to you should you wish to tell him just who it was that tried to warn you off writing your book…he is a VERY good aim on mailboxes 😉

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        1. Ha ha ha ha!! Oh Fran… you just had to sugar that comment with offers from Earl! He is special, and so talented! Thank you for your kind “feel good” comment. I am getting over that hump of worry and wonder, and just going for it. Yesterday I spent 9 hours writing. It felt good. Life does change us, if we are willing to take steps to evolve… to discover who we are! I might be a late bloomer, but here I am, and I’m ready to blossom!! 😀

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          1. Same here Lori…spent the first 34 years of my life just existing and blowing where other people wanted me to go and feeling lost. Got to say that this last 16 years have more than made up for it :). I used to let everyone else direct me but now I think for myself and we late bloomers are so much more aware of how precious this all is because we didn’t have it before. I figure we only live once. Who CARES what other people think…so long as we aren’t hurting anyone what is the problem eh? ;). Go for it! Earl just came out and then headed back to bed so he really is invested in this 😉

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          2. And to think my connection with Earl started with a Walnut! LOL I wonder if that means something? Regardless, I’m happy to have such a handsome bloke on my side! Well, it seems the late bloomer thing has been with me all of my life. That’s ok. Better than to not bloom at all I say!

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  10. Lori! I can’t even imagine anyone discouraging you from writing a book about Daisy Deer! I absolutely love every word of your blogs and posts. They always leave me teary in a beautiful way. I have told so many people of your adventures bringing up Daisy and now Spirit, as well. I LOVE reading everything you write. You go girl! I will be the first one to order that book Write away!

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    1. Oh thank you Cindy! Your words mead so very much to me. I may have to hand deliver your signed book! Daisy will be so famous by then, that she’ll need a giant marshmallow bed like Zoe’s (remember, she stole Zoe’s bed when she was a fawn!).

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  11. Hi Lori, This is a fascinating post. The YouTube clip complements your photographs of the mocking bird which as an American bird, is new to me. Your post brought to mind the Australian bird which has the power of mimicry – the lyrebird.
    Good luck with your writing project. I am sure your book will find its audience.

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    1. Thank you Margaret! Yes, the mockingbird is a mimicker for sure, but it doesn’t come off rude. Rather it sings heartily and joyfully! Perhaps he’s singing to each of his friends! 😀

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  12. I love everything about this post. The way the morning started seemed like heaven to me, and then all the wonderful shots of the mockingbird, and THEN the aha moment. I hope you’ll print out all these photos and tack them up around your writing space. Keep your little guide close as you work on Daisy’s story. And if he happens to visit in real life, drink that in.

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    1. Good idea Sandy! And tonight, after spending Thanksgiving Day with friends, on the way home a mockingbird flew in front of us (at a stop sign) and landed on a nearby fence! FD and I just smiled! This is definitely a SIGN!!

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  13. Aw that final picture just nailed it 😀 you have a companion! You’re kidding me though right – about the not being good enough to write a book.. these posts would be fairly casual writings probably I guess, compared to a book (I wouldn’t know, I never wrote one!) but you’re already so good with words. And write so fluently that even non-natives can fly through your words! Just don’t get too stressed about getting it perfect i’d imagine, just do you! It’ll be fluent and lovely!

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    1. Thank you Anouchka! I believe you are correct about not worrying about perfection, but just writing it down for now. I’ve always been hard on myself, and I suppose this will be a good exercise to overcome being so critical and self-deprecating. In many ways I am just evolving… and I like the way it feels. I think this book will be a wonderful adventure. It helps to have wonderful friends to cheer me on. I appreciate your kind words, more than you know!

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  14. I hope that the presence of the Mockingbird will continue to bring you good luck. I love his song. It’s so charming! I wish you a wonderful and peaceful week-end..

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    1. Oh thank you! The weather has turned beautiful and sunny. Most of the snow has vanished. I saw the mockingbird this morning… it was busy at the feeder and was not singing its song. I took that as a sign to enjoy a good breakfast and get to writing after! I hope the weather is as beautiful in your part of the world?

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    1. Thanks Kev! Mockingbird’s are a great deal of fun to watch. The mockingbird I wrote about comes to the back porch daily for water in the heated bird bath. He’s not a bit afraid of me!

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