on Nature / Parenting / WRITING

Annoying Bird Calls

Kelly Salasin

I wake to the sounds of birds and wonder if I should get up too. Now that the boys are home for the summer, I like to be up early to have some quiet time.  I roll over to check my husband’s digital and see his back instead.  If he’s still beside me, it’s too early to get up.  I notice that it’s dark outside.

I lift my sleepy head over his body in a heroic effort to discover the time.  It’s 4:44.  I like that.  Those fours could inspire me to capture this day and write about the “masculine.”  “4” is the number for Emperor  in the tarot, and this is the first full day of summer- the male in full expression. I roll over and slip back into the soft feminine of my dreams instead.

When the sounds of birds wake me again, the room is brighter and Casey is gone.    I can see the clock- no problem:  5:40- nothing interesting about that number to get  up early and write.  I slip back into dreams one last time.

Another chorus wakes me again, and this time the bedroom is filled with light.  It’s coming on 7.  My husband will be leaving for work any minute and if I don’t wake fully now, I sleep  till the boys are up and that would be a steep start to my day.

When Casey returns to say goodbye, I force myself into conversation. He says that I was laughing in my sleep- hysterically- like he’s never heard before.  I couldn’t recall what I was dreaming, but later I remember being back at Kripalu with a YogaDance friend and talking with my teacher Megha.  My cheeks lift even now.

Our conversation lulls- as it does when someone is still horizontal- and a silence falls between us before I say, “Some birds are so repetitive.”

Casey tilts his head to hear the bird in question and adds, “Maybe they’re parents.”

That’s enough of a curiosity to engage my mind and while my husband kisses me goodbye, I begin to wonder- what would a bird say to its kids?

On a week of rain like this, she might be going stir crazy in the nest so that the moment the clouds lift, she’d say, “Get of this nest,  Get out of this nest, Get out of this nest!”

Or maybe she has a teenage son like mine who wants to lie around all day and she’s saying,  “Go get some worms, Go get some worms, Go get some worms!”

It could be her “nest blessing day” and then she’d call to the kids, “Pick up your stuff, Pick up your stuff, Pick up your stuff!.

Whatever she’s repeating, it’s annoying and it gets me out of bed.  Who wants to lie around listening to that call over and over again?

And then I get to thinking, why do some birds have annoying, repetitive calls and others- like the thrush- have deep, soulful sounds that stir you inside?

And right way, I know they’re just like us; and I know that  I want to be a thrush, not a “Pick up your stuff, Pick up your stuff, Pick up your stuff,” bird.  That bird sits right out my window on a nearby tree, but the sound of the thrush comes deep from the woods.

To be honest, I don’t know much about birds except that I hear them a lot living near the woods as I do.   The only call that I think I recognize is the thrush- because I’ve always loved it- ever since we first moved to the mountains– but I could be wrong– I don’t have the knack for remembering bird sounds.

I used get excited about discovering an exotic call but whenever I’d ask my bird knowing neighbor, “Hey Phillip, what was that?”  He’d laugh and say, “That was a Robin, Kelly”  or  worse,” That was a crow.”  I gave up.

Apparently, Jack Kerouc said,  “Even if it didn’t happen, it’s true.” And this comforts me because what I have to say about the thrush IS true, even if it’s not her that I hear.

Now, the truth of my  call is interrupted by  the scratching of “chickadees” in the “nest” above me.  I’m bummed.  It’s only 8.  I didn’t even have time to check facebook or twitter or to finish telling you about how I want to have the call of a thrush in my heart instead of a complainer.

I listen for her again in the woods, but she’s gone.  Maybe her own kids are up and she has to shift her attention to twigs and worms and lessons in flight.

Maybe that deep, spiraling call of the soul only comes when she’s alone- in the rich, dark woods- before the kids get up.

I know this, when night falls and the children are tucked in, she’ll return again- and so will I.

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3 thoughts on “Annoying Bird Calls

  1. Thanks for the cameo, Kelly! For the record, I happen to think that robin songs are very pretty (they should be, as they are in the thrush family). I imagine that thrush songs sound just as repetitive to thrush chicks, but in an irresistibly attractive way, like top 40 hits.

      • We should sit together in your yard sometime so we can determine if you have a hermit thrush (my favorite, probably your stirring cello) or a wood thrush (also very pretty) or even a veery (yes, also pretty). There was a thrush we heard in Costa Rica that sounded like a combination between a hermit thrush and a very squeaky door, if you can imagine that.

        I enjoy your site, and your musings. How often do you get to post stuff? You can see my much less ambitious attempt, on behalf of Marlboro College, to document the day-to-day life on campus, here:http://www.marlboro.edu/communities/alumni/blog/

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