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 is a lovely May day, and I decided to leave the studio window open.
On my way out of the studio, I heard the text message beep that signaled an incoming message. I smiled. One of my clients loves to text me. I love this client’s ability to summarize problems; he drew me into learning how to spell with my thumbs 9 years ago, and now I love the brief exchanges of ideas.
We’d talked early, and I was surprised to get a text message. I put my purse containing the phone on the kitchen chair when the beep sounded faintly again. “I need breakfast first,” I said to the purse, poured a cup of coffee, and reached for the granola. 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 again. Nope, no messages. I shook my head. I could have sworn I heard it. I dropped the phone back into the purse.
I sprinkled blueberries on my granola 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 sat in the fig tree next to the kitchen window. He’s 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 creativity coach, writer and art journaler.