Monday, February 18, 2008

Sing to Me, O Mockingbird

Here in south Texas, the birds rarely wait until spring--or even March--to begin their mating songs. Indeed, some of our year-round residents have already been at it for a couple of weeks.

The cardinal is a beautiful bird and a fine singer, but the Texas emblem--the mockingbird--puts on the best show. Mockingbirds imitate every other song in the neighborhood, their constant jumping from tune to tune being the only sure way to identify them by their voices. At the height of spring ardor, mockingbirds sing almost 24/7 (they have been known to keep people awake at night); and they "dance," too, constantly bouncing into the air from their perches as if to say, "Look at me! Look at me!"

Ornithologists say that birds sing for purely practical reasons--to attract mates and establish territorial borders--but it's hard to hear the music and not believe that God's feathered musicians are also expressing joy in just being alive. "The winter is past... Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come" (Song of Solomon 2:11-12, NIV). All praises to God, Who renews life, Whom even the oceans, the trees, and the rocks find worthy of praise (see 1 Chronicles 16:32-33; Luke 19:37-40).

Sing to me, O mockingbird:
Sing me a song of God's gifts to the world.
Sing of the trees and their budding leaves;
Sing of fresh air and the gentle breeze.

Sing of the flowers in brilliant shades;
Sing of the frost and its silver glaze.
Sing of the sea where the dolphins play,
Of gulls soaring over a turquoise bay.

Sing of the sun in April skies,
Of bright blue days under Heaven's eyes,
When the chill of winter has finally gone
And the heat of summer still lies beyond.

Sing of bright warblers flitting through
Fresh-budding trees, flashing yellow hue;
Sing of the bluebirds with bright red breasts,
And the meadowlark in its golden vest.

Sing of the moon in each glowing phase,
Bouncing off silver and pure white rays;
Sing of the stars on a country night,
Blazing in endless jewels of light.

Sing to me, O mockingbird:
Sing me a song of God's gifts to the world.

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