Friday, July 17, 2009


I'd finished prepping the next spinach plot and was sitting on the deck sipping coffee as an early evening thunderstorm approached, when Warbler all of a sudden, out of the depths of one of the big cedars close by the deck, commenced at top volume right in my ear his usual late afternoon declamation as to the general condition of his pre-eminent life and the state of his extensive territorial possessions.

As he announced to all and sundry on the mountainside the usual long list of splendid stuff in that amazing way he has, I responded to each item by whistling in my crude Warblerese a few of my favorite blues riffs (I can be such a pain, birdwise), each of which W pointedly ignored, continuing in his usual manner, at least until I did a few bars from Boogie, Chillun by the eminent John Lee Hooker.

Upon hearing that, Warbler paused, whether in awe or some degree of self-doubt it's hard to say. He then resumed in what seemed like halfhearted confusion, as though certain of his territory was not so vast after all. He made no attempt, though, to fit even a bit of John Lee into the warbly repertoire, which would be neat beyond belief, and news around the world, but what do warblers care for fame. After a few tries to regain his composure he flew off to another corner of his realm and began again in the old way.

Some forms of life are more conservative than others, but it's always worth a try.

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