The world is very quiet in the early morning hours.  It seems that most people wait for the sun to be high enough above the horizon to assure them that morning really is here to stay before they venture out of bed and into the day.  Except for an occasional car passing silently as it carries its driver to work, I seldom encounter another human being at the time of day when I take my walk.  I enjoy my solitude; and I must admit that on the rare occasions when I meet another person, a sort of vigilance rises in me and I observe him in order to determine whether his motives for being out at such an hour are honest ones and whether I am safe in his presence.  Just as I reached the point on my path today where civilization seems the most distant, I heard a noise that was decidedly human in origin; and it stopped me in my tracks.

A cellphone was ringing.  My first thought was that the one in my pocket might be receiving a call from home; but the ring was a standard one, not the celestial music that announces my calls.  I stood and listened as the phone rang once, twice, three times and then went silent.  No voice answered the call; and as I stood in the long shadows of the trees in the rising sun, I scanned the area around me.  Why would someone simply silence the ringer rather than speak?  Was the goal to remain hidden?  If so, were the motives for staying in the shadows innocent ones? My ears perked up as I stood rooted to one spot, not wanting my own movement to betray my location.  My heart began to beat quickly, and I purposely pushed aside a feeling of fear.  “Good morning,” I said softly.  “Is someone there?”  There was no answer.

Knowing that I could not stand there forever, I decided to proceed along my planned route.  My usual feeling of immersion in the awakening of the world around me was replaced by one of alertness as I looked and listened for any indication that I might not be alone.  Then it happened again.  The phone rang once, twice, three times and stopped.  As I scanned the area, looking for its source, there suddenly was a rustle of leaves and some movement in the trees overhead.  Out came Mr. Mockingbird, and he chose a perch on the highest spot he could find, opened his beak, and sang the cellphone song again.  “So you’re the one who’s calling,” I laughed.  He cocked his head from side to side and gave me a quizzical look.  Maybe he was trying to remember the complicated song I was singing to him so he could steal it for future use.  With a deep breath and a heavy sigh, I released my hypervigilance and once again returned to the enjoyment of my daily immersion in the trees, the birds, and the rising sun.  “I hope your call goes through,” I tossed toward my feathered friend.


As I began my descent toward home, I heard him reply with the sharp chirp-chirp of his push-to-talk walkie-talkie.  We had a nice walkie and a nice talkie, I thought.  Shaking my head and grinning from ear to ear, I watched him fly back into the trees.