Log in
Faith and Inspiration

To save a mockingbird


Editor's Note: Pastor Joe Escobar wrote this letter to Apopka author Charles Towne after reading Towne's article entitled: "The Mourning Crow", published last weekend (on May 21st).


Your work has touched my heart.

When I was in college, l developed a love for literature and the power of the written word.

Dr. Knott, my English professor, taught me to be “one upon whom nothing is lost.”

Reading your work has brought me back to that life discipline that permits nothing to escape our notice, and therefore it is captured by our minds for meaning and value.

Behavioral researchers believe they have the answer to why Mockingbirds make those unusual sounds.

Mockingbirds apparently sing for the same reason humans turn the lights low and put on Frank Sinatra or Luther Vandross... for the sheer joy of it.

Kim Derrickson, an ornithologist at the Smithsonian Institution, has studied mockingbirds almost exclusively for several years in Washington, D.C.'s Rock Creek Park.

As he explains, "the mockingbird's song is the vocal equivalent of a peacock's tail."

Long before the Europeans came to this continent, the mockingbird's song captured the attention of the native peoples, who believed the creature was ridiculing other birds in the forest.

One tribe, the Algonquins, called it Cencontlatolly, or "400 tongues." The Biloxi Indians believed it "mocked one's words," while the Choctaws called it the bird "that speaks a foreign tongue." In Hopi myth, the mockingbird gave the tribe the gift of language.

Your work immediately reminded me of another great literary piece by Walt Whitman, 1819-1892, titled, Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking.

In this work, Whitman describes his first and tragic experience with death he experienced when a mockingbird slowly realizes that his mate will never return.

Whitman was transformed by the death of the “she-bird,” as he referred to her, and the desperate longing in the mysterious song of the he-bird. Here Whitman reaches a tragic epiphany.

Death touched the Mockingbird pair, and death was a reality young Whitman had to face and embrace. He did embrace the loss. Whitman felt death’s permanence, its lonely, cutting pain that time can not cure but sometimes heals.

The excerpt below is a few short lines from the 193 lines of “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking”.

Demon or bird! (said the boy’s soul)

Is it indeed toward your mate you sing? Or is it mostly to me?

For I, that was a child, my tongue’s use sleeping,

Now I have heard you,

Now in a moment, I know what I am for—I awake,

And already a thousand singers—a thousand songs, clearer, louder, and more sorrowful than yours,

A thousand warbling echoes have started to live within me,

Never to die

Reader, I pray you go and read it in its entirety.

You will not be the same.

My hope is that we all listen and learn as nature speaks its unique language of love to us.

We have much to learn and greater things to share.

Thank you, Chaz. Once again, your Heart comes through and causes my meager words to fall on paper.

Chaz, how you perceived and processed your experience that day with your crows is of grand magnitude.

I envision your nature book becoming a compilation-literary work that will reach many generations, as does, Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking.

Joe Escobar, The original Chazite

Faith, Inspiration, Charles Towne, Pastor Joe Escobar, Crow, Mockingbird


1 comment on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Richardmvelho

    A beautiful tribute my friend, it is one of the most transforming experiences we have, the very first time we realize we have met 'death'! This past weekend I too had the honor to recall some powerful words written by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. in 1884, in a speech he gave on Memorial Day in Keene, New Hampshire. It is of special note to each and every person who has served in the military, especially those who experienced combat, but it is even more poignant for those who were not under arms but made by circumstances to wait!

    Probably, the best way to access this speech is to enter the phrase," our hearts were touched with fire" in your search engine and it should come up! As the Irish say, "God bless one and all" and especially you.my friend, and Pastor Joe!

    Tuesday, May 30, 2023 Report this