Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ernie and the Short-Sighted Mockingbird

Outside of my workshop window is a mockingbird making a nest. Whether he has a lady friend or has yet to find a lady friend, I do not know, but he has decided that this tree shall be his.

He is annoyed by my presence, and particularly the sounds of industry coming from my workshop from time to time. He makes irritated noises at me through the open window.

"Mr. Mockingbird," says I, pausing to put down my chisel. "I know that you have claimed this spot for your own, but I was here first."

"No, you were most certainly not," says he. "In this small grove my family has lived for generations untold. We have never been driven forth, not by sparrows or hawks, and you are the interloper."

"That may be so, since I arrived only a year and a half ago, but this spot is where I have built my workshop and there must be some level of compromise. Nest where you will and I will not disturb you any more than I must, nor will I harm your mate or your babies."

"How condescending of you to compromise with me," says he. "I was here first and I have the right of it. This is my tree and you and your workshop can just pack up and go away."

"I have no place else to go," I said, slightly amused by his indignation. "This is my home. I am sorry that you reject my offer of compromise. Do you not see your benefit here?"

"All I see is a great hairy hominid underneath my tree."

"I do not need your tree nor the immediate space upon which it sits. I live a simple life. I can cut firewood somewhere else and preserve your tree. I till and improve the soil which improves the land and means more bugs for you and your progeny to consume. My presence keeps away the larger predators, including other men who might desire your tree or your space for themselves and not care what 14 fluid ounces of angry bird had to say about it."

"Harrumph," said the mockingbird. "I reject your benign rulership in the name of free creatures everywhere. If I must accept you, then I do it only grudgingly and only so much as I lack the ability to drive you away."

And with an angry flutter of his wings, he took off for another tree from which to peer down at me balefully.

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