Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 115 - What Kind of Bird Would You Be?

You've heard the question asked by Barbara Walters in her interviews for which she is famous, "If you were a tree what kind of tree would you be?"  I've often asked myself that and I honestly don't know.  When I figure that one out I'll let you know. But here is a more telling question to ask [if you ask me....] "If you were a bird what kind of bird would you be?"  This I know the answer....I would be a Northern Mockingbird, otherwise known as the American Nightingale.

They intrigue me.  They mimic other birds as well as sirens, pianos and barking dogs.  What if you could imitate anything you heard?  You could get people on telephones to talk to you about anything.  You could get into voice recognition protected software. You could sing like anyone in the world and probably make a living doing just that. If I were a Mockingbird, Celine Dion...Watch out! The male mockingbird is normally who we hear just singing and singing incessantly with a melody of twenty different bird songs running together.  The males who sing into the night are still without a female.  They will sing during a full moon.  They also have two different songs, one for the fall and one for the spring.  Just like we ladies need a black pair of shoes for the fall and a white pair of shoes for the spring.

I'm not the only one who admires this bird, there are five states that have made it their official state bird:   Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, Texas and Tennessee.  When it takes off I love how it bedazzles us with a flashy patch of white under it's wing.  It flies like a square dancer who flings her skirt up on the do-si-do.  But the single most reason why I'd be a Mockingbird if I was a bird is because it is fearless.  I have seen hawks, eagles, vultures and crows fleeing the fury of a mockingbird protecting its nest.  Hell hath no fury like a female mockingbird.  It's so hard to believe that this 10" bird can scare away birds four and five times its size.  I want to think that I'm like this.  You can come to look at my young, but if you even think about crossing the boundary, I'll die trying to take your head off.  I'm protective of my kids like that. 

The beauty has been that most people pick up on this right away and back off.  It can be ugly for the people who don't. Particularly out in public. I've seen security guards follow my sons around a store because they have brown skin and are being stereotyped.  Security thinks that their skin is the thief indicator.  People with brown skin must not have any money so they are in the store just to steal something.  So I follow the security guards as they follow my sons.  If they keep following my kids, I close in on their personal space.  I'm literally right behind them and usually when they stop I will bump into them.  They turn around and say, "What are you doing?  I say, "I'm following you." They ask me why.  I ask them why they are following that brown skinned teenager.  They don't answer and tell me to stop. I tell them, "When you stop following my son, I'll stop following you."  The look on their face is priceless.  In these bizarre instances I feel that it is appropriate to ridicule and "mock" these kind of absurd behaviors. Once they see how it feels and that as inconspicuous as they are trying to be, its obvious to everyone else what they are doing.  That kind of bird just fits me perfectly.  Is it coincidence that a group of mockingbirds is called a "ridicule?"

One of the best American Classics is To Kill a Mockingbird,  a sad story about a black man who was convicted of raping and beating a white woman.  It was clear that the person who hit the woman was left handed.  The black man on trial couldn't use his left hand yet the all white jury were unjust and convicted him anyway.  Having kids of color I fear that they will be a victim based on their brown skin like the protagonist in this classic book. So one can understand why I'm protective.  I can never bequeath the privileges that are afforded to me for having white skin to my children.  I'll die protecting them from being physically hurt by this injustice. As for the psychological scars that the whips of prejudicial injustice make on their lives, I can only be there for comfort.  As good of a mama mockingbird as I may be, the right thing to do is to acknowledge that I can't protect them from all pain.  I just have to help them process it and learn from it.

Click here to hear my song...

Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don't pretend to understand.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 9, spoken by the character Atticus 

They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 11, spoken by the character Atticus

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