Posted in Insight, Mid-Life Mama, Parenting Tweets

Annoying Bird Calls (what kind of mom do I want to be?)

Photo 339I wake to the sounds of birds and wonder if I should get up too. Now that the boys are home for the summer, I like to be up early to steal some quiet time for myself. I roll over to check my husband’s alarm clock but instead I see his back.  If he’s still here, it’s too early to get up. I notice it’s dark outside.

Still, I lift my foggy head over his body in a heroic effort to assign time. 4:44. I like that. Those fours could inspire me get up and write about the “masculine.”  “4” is the number for Emperor  in the tarot, and this is the first full day of summer–the masculine in full expression. I roll over and slip back into the soft feminine of my dreams instead.

When the sounds of birds wake me again, the room is lightening and Casey is missing. I can see the clock easily now:  5:40. Nothing interesting about that. I slide back into dreams once again.

Another chorus wakes me again, and this time the bedroom is profuse with light. It’s coming on 7.  My husband will leave for work momentarily and if I don’t get up now, I sleep till the boys wake and that would be a steep start to any day.

When he comes to say goodbye, I force myself into conversation. He tells me that I was laughing in my sleep–hysterically–like he’s never heard before. I can’t recall my dreams, but later it comes to me… I was back at Kripalu, with a YogaDance friend, and I was talking with my teacher Megha. My cheeks lift even now recollecting it.

The conversation with my husband lulls–as it does when someone is still horizontal. I break the silence with a sudden observation: “Some birds are so repetitive.”

Casey tilts his head to hear the call in question. “Maybe they’re parents,” he says.

That’s enough of a curiosity to stir my mind, so that when my husband stoops to kiss me goodbye, I am already wondering:  What would a mother bird say to her kids?

On a week of rain like this, she’d be stir crazy in the nest so that the moment the clouds lifted, she’d say, “Get of this nest. Get out of this nest. Get out of this nest!”

Or maybe she has a teenage son like mine who wants to lie around all day and she’s saying,  “Go get some worms. Go get some worms. Go get some worms!”

It could be her “nest blessing day” and then she’d call: “Pick up your stuff. Pick up your stuff. Pick up your stuff!”

Whatever she’s repeating, it’s annoying and it gets me out of bed. Who wants to lie around listening to that call over and over again?

Van Gogh (
Van Gogh (

And then I get to thinking, why do some birds have annoying, repetitive calls and others–like the thrush–share deep, soulful sounds that stir me inside?

And right way, I know they’re just like us; and I know that I want to be a thrush, not a “Pick up your stuff. Pick up your stuff. Pick up your stuff,” mom.  That bird sits right out my window on a nearby tree, but the sound of the thrush comes from deep in the dark wood.

Actually, I don’t know much about birds, except that I hear them a lot living near the woods as I do.  The only call I recognize is the thrush–because I’ve always loved it–ever since we first moved to the mountains. But it might not even be a thrush.

I used get excited about hearing a particularly beautiful call, but whenever I’d ask my bird knowing neighbor what it was, and he’d laugh and say:  “That’s a Robin,” or worse: “That’s crow.”

Jack Kerouc wrote, “Even if it didn’t happen, it’s true,” and this comforts me because what I sense about the soul of the thrush IS true, even if it’s not her that I hear.

But my truth is interrupted by  the scratching of my own “chickadees” in the “nest” above my office. It’s only 8 am. I thought they’d sleep much later on their first day of summer vacation. I haven’t even checked Facebook or Twitter yet or finished telling you about how I want to have the call of a thrush in my heart instead of a complainer.

I listen for her again before I head to the kitchen to make breakfast, but she’s gone. Maybe her own kids are up too and she has to shift her attention from matters of the soul to practicalities like twigs and worms and lessons in flight. Maybe that deep, spiraling call only comes when she’s alone–in the dark wood–before the kids get up.

When night falls and our children are tucked in bed, she’ll return–and I’ll be here too.

(June 2009)


Lifelong educator, writer, retreat & journey leader, yoga & yogadance instructor.

4 thoughts on “Annoying Bird Calls (what kind of mom do I want to be?)

  1. kas, we have oodles of birds to, both in sf & az, kazoodles in the later actually, we are in a migratory zone there….
    If I may… Get up w/ them @ 5, take some tea, sit on the porch or any sitting station… I do this lots in az, it’s such a gift! I too know little of them, though on my to do list is obtaining a bird I’d book… Lots of red, yellow, humming…. Birds… Many if you call to them will call back @ least in our hood!


  2. Kel, I love this one. A real delight. I ponder the chorus around me here in NJ as I work the garden, and I don’t think I’ll hear it the same way now. This really gave me a smile.


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