I went home to see my mom (age 96) a few weeks ago and I noticed a Mockingbird singing away at the top of a telephone pole in front of her house. He sang for (what seemed) like five hours straight (with breaks for water and insects). I thought, “Now there’s a guy who likes the sound of his own voice.” Birders will interject, “but it’s not his voice. It’s a compendium of bird songs plus whatever other sounds he fancies.” True dat. But five hours! This is like Barbra Streisand singing for an entire week by which time even her hardiest fans are leaving the bleachers. Trust me, I am going somewhere with this. I think. Fast forward to Wednesday. I’m sitting at the therapist’s office and saying, “I was rude to three people in the past couple of days.” This bothers me because I’m supposed to be nice in my professional capacity. Not good to be rude to the customers. I’m thinking, “Is this the long-awaited personality change I’ve been expecting? Turning into Ebenezer?” We mulled that for a bit and then I talked about the mockingbird and his tremendous stamina, not to mention joy in his work and I might have said that I identified with the bird. Then, for some reason I started describing a card I’d made for Nancy Bell Scott in which a Beaver appeared somewhat unbidden. It was supposed to be a caption balloon but it looked more like a beaver so I went with it. And we then began comparing the beaver, all work and no play and the mockingbird, seemingly endless play and I mentioned that I was behind in my blogging and that it was hard to create when I owed so many people a thank you and an acknowledgment. So we’re setting up this dichotomy here between the beaver who needs to get those blogs out and the mockingbird who’s waiting to sing his song. What’s the problem with the beaver? He’s lazy. We have a lazy beaver here, my friends. And while the mockingbird is waiting in the wings, he’s getting testy, rude even. (You know, this whole essay was a lot more meaningful and poignant in my mind’s eye so you might want climb into my brain and observe the shadows on the wall which are ever so evocative, not to mention lucid as a shadow.) Anyway, the solution here is a collaboration between beaver and mockingbird. The beaver does his duty (not so onerous really) and the mockingbird eggs him on with jokes, patter and a few new things he’s picked up backstage. It’s interspecies vaudeville.

Brilliant segue goes here.

Speaking of Nancy Bell Scott, way back in April (April!) she sent me a mail art piece, two books of matches and a letter about dealing with Mr. Twig (see Nancy’s blog for explanation). That damn beaver sat on those matches for months!

But maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. In the interim Nancy has decided to spare Mr. Twig from the purification pyre. (I don’t have a dog in this fight. Mr. Twig may gather dust for the ages and when Nancy’s relatives find him tacked to her wall after she expires, long may they puzzle over why she kept this weird thing.) By the way, I don’t think Nancy’s Brain on Negativity is a naysaying piece. It’s more about the inversion of light and darkness. I don’t think of her as being negative. Permanently depressive, possibly. But not negative. Just observe the way she sings her song. Okay, now I think I need to go lie down. Thank you, Nancy. 

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Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on June 24, 2012 at 4:13pm

"Interspecies vaudeville"! I'm laughing, but the world does need more of it. Now that you've invented it with this sterling example, maybe more will happen. But as you observed, even the mockingbird needed "breaks for water and insects." Also, beavers do pause to eat and they even sleep. They might even secretly play parlor games in their lodge, and who would know?

I went back to check dates: Mr. Twig arrived on March 4 and was blogged on June 18. You received a couple of cowardly matchbooks and a little brain thingie in late April and blogged them on June 23. The math says you have money in the bank here, my friend (if I may be incredibly crass). But who's counting?

Thanks for this class-A blog. And don't worry about my relatives. They were hopelessly sunk over their tasks when I croak long before Mr. T came along. 

Comment by Theresa Ann Aleshire Williams on June 24, 2012 at 2:10am

Just one word for this: YES

Comment by De Villo Sloan on June 24, 2012 at 2:03am

Just - wow - fine writing, David, and fitting tribute to NBS. Remember in English classes it was about style? Flaubert, Hemingway, Henry James - on and on. Now? Well, style is OK for hair or your dogs hair, I guess. David, if you're thinking about any kind of future in writing - let me tell you, kid, get rid of this style thing in your writing. That is just SO over, OMG!

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