This post is a bit of a ramble. It started when my fellow artist friend/blogger, Connie Williams mentioned on Facebook hearing the mockingbirds singing at dawn “imitating car alarms and frogs.” It haunts me that our electronic trills and whoops are being replicated in the animal world. And why ever not? How gullible am I? What DO those birds think….it’s just another interesting sound out there that might lead to mating or something, right? It’s Spring in Birdland, too.
So, here’s the tricky bit: I heard one doing the exact thing today on my morning walk. It actually flew the neighborhood I was walking in, block by block. Not haunting, but taunting me. (At least to my way of thinking.) So I got to walk and think awhile on how the sounds around us shape our realities in even this subtle way: the birdsong, the freeway whoosh, the backup beeps of the sidewalk construction backhoe, all there for the taking in. We make electronic birdbeeps, the birds make technobeeps, we hear the birds and realize they just MIGHT sound like electronica…and how, exactly does that end?
Yeah, you expect this from, say, a parrot. My husband Mark says when he lived in Columbia as a kid, they had a parrot that made tantrum sounds just like his younger brother, Chris! I, myself, was posing for a drawing group onetime with a parrot on my head. Whenever I laughed, the parrot replicated it INSTANTLY, which made me laugh more… which made the parrot “laugh” more and…well….not a lot of steady modelling got done that night.
But, electronic birdbeeps from a live bird on a Tuesday morning random neighborhood walk? Got me thinking about what shapes what reality and, of course of Marshall McLuhan from my college days. Now, HE was right: it is not the content of the medium that is influential, it is the medium itself. You can read more here. I love that he played with words, finding meaning whether one used mEssage or mAssage. (Note the book is actually called The Medium is the MAssage, but the concept is still valid from an earlier book.) Even the birds are being Massaged/Messaged?
Two more random things to conclude this post: I saw a bumpersticker on Pine Street: “Wag More, Bark Less.” EVERYONE needs this thought.
And, today’s blog photo is one of a series of six large charcoal and pastel drawings I did last fall of my son Max’s highly expressive face. It represents in small part my emotional response to all these thoughts from this morning.
Wagging all the way.