My Dad was here a couple of days ago, listening, talking, being a presence for me; it worked. We had a good day and he lingered into the evening, sitting with me in my east facing patio chairs, listening to the night-singers tuning up in the Pig Weed and Johnson Grass.
When my son-in-law was here a couple of weeks ago, he and Able ran an electric line to the garden shed (a euphemistic phrase if ever I heard one) for lights and a plug-in. As Dad and I sat and talked we noticed a little hummingbird perched on the new overhead wire. I remembered watching these tiny, but valiant, little birds years ago when we lived in the 'old house', here on this same spot. Hummingbirds are fiercely territorial, like most things, and this guy was constantly peering around or zipping off to chase away an intruder. I need another feeder; and it needs to hang around the corner of the porch, out of the line of sight of this wire. The hummingbirds were entertaining and the air was full of many birds, for some reason, but my personal favorite was a mockingbird. I love the flow of music that mockingbirds fling into the air, constant and constantly changing. For years I have had my own personal mockingbird whom I have dubbed 'Rocky' who follows me through the gardens as I weed or mulch, singing me along. This summer however, Rocky didn't show up at all and I missed the music and his steady black eyes.
Monday, as Dad and I sat watching the antics of the hummers, this particular mockingbird flew to the top of the lilac bush and sat there, not singing, looking around and waiting. We whistled to it, we called a greeting; he looked at us but remained silent (obviously he doesn't know the password or the routine of the garden). When I got up to go inside for glasses of water for Dad and I the bird flew away. Once I returned and sat down, he returned. After twenty minutes or so of silence he began to sing, softly, and we whistled back to him. This bird was not my Rocky but he was beautiful, with his brushed gray coat and the flash of white bars in his tail. He is young; perhaps he heard of our place in a story told in the dark of winter, somewhere far to the south of here. I hope he chooses to stay; I could use the song.