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Mercury Retrograde: Arguing With Mockingbirds

posted by Matthew Currie

(Are you prepared for the craziness of this week’s Full Moon? Click HERE for the forecast!)

Mercury retrograde periods are notorious for mis-communications of all kinds. As an astrologer, I constantly finding myself doing two conflicting things about Mercury retrograde: warning people of its perils, and assuring people that it’s no big deal. On Saturday, the day Mercury went retrograde, I was provided with a reminder that being aware of Mercury retrograde and being immune two it are two very different things.

That evening, I found myself in the middle of a serious argument with a friend. It was over a matter that could have been cleared up fairly quickly and easily, but a combination of misunderstanding and a couple of difficult days lead to a major blowout. Neptune preparing to go retrograde square my Mercury probably didn’t help either. The matter has still not been entirely sorted out, but I hope for the best.

Mulling this matter over after the fact caused me some consternation, and led to a bout of insomnia. When this happens to me – which is more often that I like, so much so that I’ve actually gone to sleep clinics for it – I often find the best way to settle my brain down is to go for a long walk at night. As we all know, there are various medications one can take for insomnia, but all of them have unfortunate side effects. Whereas, what could possibly go wrong with a late night stroll by oneself on the streets of a major American city?

(Please note: the author is a Sagittarius. Sagittarius has a reputation for reckless optimism.)

I have always taken an interest in the local wildlife wherever I’ve lived. Moving from Canada to California and then to New York, I’ve noticed that more often than not the species involved are largely the same. Everywhere I have lived has had sparrows and squirrels and cats and seagulls. But each place has its own unique local inhabitants. There is one particularly loud bird that has a tendency to get loud at night here in New York that I hadn’t encountered before: the mockingbird.

I was standing out in the back alley behind my apartment preparing to go in and try to sleep again, having just finished a conversation with a very drunk new acquaintance about the state of his love life (YO WHAT UP B-DAWG TOLDYA I’D MENTION YOU ON MY BLOG! HOPE YOUR BABY-MAMA LET YOU BACK IN! BROOKLYN, REPRESENT!) when I stopped and listened to the mockingbird in the tree behind my place.

The mockingbird doesn’t make one or two distinct calls like most species of birds. It makes a wide range of sounds, often mimicking other sounds in its environment. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to identify the species and decided to attempt a conversation with the bird, namely by playing portions of this video to it on my phone:

YouTube Preview Image

…And the mockingbird responded, not only by becoming much louder, but by mimicking some of the mimicked car-alarm sounds from the video I was playing to it.

To me, this was pretty exciting stuff. There I was, acting like I just made first contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence. What I hadn’t realized… or rather, that I had forgotten in my half awake state… is that the primary reason birds singing is to either mark off their territory from other birds, or to find a mate. If all birds wore translation callers like that dog from Up did, the air in most places would be filled with voices all day long shouting either “get lost!” Or “hey baby!”

In fact, I had unintentionally set off the avian vocal equivalent of a turf war. The bird in question became more agitated and, believe it or not, even louder. I admit that, once my mostly-awake brain had put this together, I felt bad.

… But not as bad as I did when a few minutes later my landlord, who as it turns out is also prone to insomnia, came out to see what was going on. Fortunately, I mastered the “innocent look” at an early age.

The mockingbird came out of it keeping his territory, and I was not forced to go looking for new territory myself. And by about 4:30 AM the mockingbird finally stopped, and he and the landlord and myself all finally managed to get some sleep.

So, today’s Mercury retrograde lesson? Watch what you say. And when you say it. And how loudly. And be careful who you’re keeping awake with all your noise.

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  • SamMadHands

    I spend a lot of time listening to birds. Several years ago I concluded that mockingbirds are the Fox News of the avian world. All that imitation of other birds may add up to “Well, HE said…and then SHE said…” Robins apparently begin the morning with a roll call, and if the bird taking roll doesn’t get a “Here” he’ll repeat it, and if there’s STILL no answer a silence ensues, during which, I suppose, someone checks on the non-responder. But the worst is in the spring when you’re trying to finish writing a paper before dawn and at about three someone starts bragging about whom he just did or who just hatched, and you know dawn isn’t far away, and you just want to SHOOT them!

  • kelley

    In other words, go home and take a nap. ;)

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