Cleveland's singing is profoundly sweet to me, mostly because we were recently without it for an extended period of time. When I first brought him home from The Bird Store in Orlando, FL, he was only a few months old. The shop keeper assured me that he had, in fact, performed a little trilling earlier that day, proving he was male (females don't have the capacity to sing) and should be serenading us "full force" in only a matter of days. I set up his cage near a sunny window in our home and waited excitedly for the concert to begin. Begin, he did! He'd go through several different tunes, some melodic, involving intricate notes, others just a simple trill, alternating between two octaves. All of them were loud and lovely.
He'd go all day long. From the moment we removed his cage cover to the time I'd place it back on in the evening, Cleveland sang. In fact, he sang so much, I began not even to notice it any more. Guests in my home would interrupt our conversations and say, "Wow, that's really pretty!" pointing in the direction of his cage. It would take me a minute to figure out they were referring to Cleveland's song, because I hadn't really been hearing it. It's as if his trills became "white noise" to me.
Then came Alan's promotion last year and our subsequent move up North. Since we had to make the trip with both our cars from Orlando, Alan drove the Infiniti with Trixie on board, I followed behind in my little yellow Volkswagon Beetle, carrying Cleveland in his cage, and also our cockatiel, Vegas, in hers (Yeah, she's named after a city, too. But hers is a different story, I'll tell that one another time!!). Both birds, obviously, were quite nervous at the beginning of the trip, but they seemed to settle down as the drive progressed and accepted their new surroundings.
When we finally arrived at our new home and began unpacking, I made sure once again to place both cages in a sunny, warm location that seemed ideal. I adequately hooked them up with food and water and continued with the unloading. I was so overwhelmed with boxes and bubble wrap and dishes, it took me a few days to realize something...Cleveland wasn't singing. I approached his cage to check on him, he seemed happy enough, eating and hopping around like normal. Just no singing. I moved his cage to a different spot so he could view the wild birds in the backyard, like he did at our old house. "That'll get him going," I thought. Still, nothing.
I considered taking him to a vet, but then I'd imagine the conversation I'd have with said vet: "I don't know. He just seems...depressed, you know?" So, discouraged, I'd drop the whole thing. I bought a "Canary Song Instructional" CD, claiming to be able to "jump start" your bird into singing along. Cleveland would join the CD for the first thirty seconds or so, then lose interest. Clearly, Cleveland just wasn't "feelin' it."
Then one morning, for no particular reason, Cleveland began to trill. It was very quiet and tentative, but it was definitely singing! Alan lunged for the TV remote, lowered the volume, and we both sat frozen, not wanting to distract our tiny prodigal Pavarotti. It was so soft and sweet, like he was practicing. I couldn't believe how much I missed it. It's been only a few weeks since that morning, and he's still not back to full volume, but there is definitely hope yet for our little songbird!
But this episode has taught me a valuable lesson. When Cleveland was loudly and confidently trilling everyday, I barely noticed anymore. It was only when he was silent that I appreciated how beautiful his singing was. It's made me wonder, how many other instances in my daily life have I under-appreciated a kindness or an extra effort being given to me? People like the kind teenage boy who bagged my groceries with extra care or the bank teller at the drive thru window who saw Trixie in the car and sent a milkbone through the tube along with my deposit receipt. Did I make them feel appreciated for their extra effort?
You know, I'm always the first one to fire-off a strongly worded letter to the management whenever I have a bad experience at a shop or restaurant. I rarely do the same when the opposite is true. Cleveland's singing today has prompted me to decide to change all that, starting now:
I want to let YOU know, you who have taken the time to visit this site and read my words written here, that I greatly, greatly appreciate it. I appreciate the comments you leave and your encouraging words that make me want to try harder. I appreciate you for clicking the "follow" button and making me feel, at long last, POPULAR! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
Wow! That felt great! Makes me feel like singing! Think I'll go hum Cleveland a tune, see if we can get a good duet going. With any luck, maybe I'll get him to drown me out!!
Thanks for Reading!!