The bird songs sound sweetest 40-some feet from the screen door out the back. Acoustically, the yard is best suited for an audience in that gazebo with the screen around. Every morning, the audience drinks his coffee black, carefully filling the Sunday Times’ crossword in ballpoint pen as the mockingbird chirps her daily repetitions. Four in a row; one, two, three, four, beat, one, two, three, four, repeat.
In cooler months, the bluebirds - just the bluest ones - sing their foraging songs, announcing themselves to the morning like an Easter boys choir, or the 7 Dwarves. The audience's wife pokes her head from the screen door out the back.
“I made you some cookies,” she says across the 40-some feet.
“Well bring ‘em here, and yourself, too! Gotta hear the music from over here. What’s a four letter word for ‘nocturnal gleaning insectivore?’ Third letter ‘R.’”
Her eye roll hasn't changed in 50 years. “It’s ‘bird,’ Larry. Eat your oatmeal,” she said, stepping into the autumn rotunda, handing him an oven-warm cookie.
He knew it was “bird” sure as he knew she liked being the one to say it.
B-I-R-D, bite, chew, bite, sip; one, two, three, four; beat, repeat.