Text Message from Nature

When the phone rang at 6:30 this morning, I already had the headset on. When you are a creativity coach, you leave at least one morning for early calls and one evening for late calls. Not every client wants to call from work, so you plan to do the coaching early or late. After the coaching calls were over, I prepared for a client meeting. It was a lovely May day, and I decided to leave the studio window open. No rain predicted, after all.

On my way out of the studio, I heard the text message beep that signaled an incoming message. I smiled, but kept heading up the stairs. One of my clients loves to text message me. Two years ago, I knew nothing of text messaging. But the client’s ability to summarize problems drew me into learning how to spell with my thumb, and now I easily answer the frequent messages. My clients are allowed unlimited calls, text messages and emails between sessions. In four years of coaching, I’ve had to enforce a limit only once.

We’d talked early, and I was surprised to get a text message. I put my briefcase containing the phone on the kitchen chair when the beep sounded faintly again. “I need breakfast first,” I said to the briefcase, poured a cup of coffee, and reached for the cereal. Another beep. I gave in. This many messages sounded serious. Before I poured milk on the granola, I pulled the phone from the briefcase. No messages. I checked the inbox. Nope, no messages. I shook my head. I could have sworn I heard it. I dropped the phone into the inner pocket of the briefcase.multi_mockingbird.jpg

I sprinkled blueberries on my cereal and poured milk over it. The beep again. But this time, it seemed to be coming from the window in front of me. I pushed open the window and heard another incoming message. But this time I saw the message-sender. The mockingbird that nests in the pear tree next to the studio window has heard the beep often enough to repeat it. He already mimics my alarm clock and now he’s got the text message notification down perfectly.

When mockingbirds learned to mimic sounds, it must have been for a better reason than echoing technological tools. But I have to admit, he’s useful. I’m a sound sleeper, but what the alarm clock can’t do–the mockingbird can. I can’t turn him off.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach. She next online journaling class starts on May 14, 2007. Read more or sign up for the class. You can also see her work at QuinnCreative. Image courtesy netstate.com.