Mystery Tapper

Tap Tap Tap Tap—Tap Tap

Hearing the sound, I assume it’s coming from across the street where a neighbor is having carpet installed. But there are no doors or windows open (not surprising, with icicles hanging off the trees), which makes me wonder how I hear it so clearly.

Tap Tap Tap Tap—Tap Tap

There it goes again. From my window overlooking the street, I can finally tell the sound is coming from my front door. Strange for someone to knock rather than ring the bell. Even stranger, there doesn’t appear to be anyone on the porch.

Tap Tap Tap Tap—Tap Tap

My cautious nature makes me hesitate. When have I ever opened the door without first knowing who was there? I take a deep breath, grasp the knob, and pull. The porch is empty. I step outside and look up and down the street. A bit bewildered, I return to my breakfast in the kitchen. All I do is stare at my cereal, though, which is growing soggy.

What’s going on?

Within seconds, I hear it again. 

Tap Tap Tap Tap—Tap Tap

I run to my window and see an American Robin sitting on the front step. When I open the door, it’s gone.

The tapping continues on and off all morning. In the midst of it, headed out for my weekly grocery shopping, I back out of the driveway and stop the car in front of my house.

C’mon, mystery tapper. Show up! I want to see who you are.

So, I wait. The only sign of life is a robin on a leafless branch of my pear tree. But suddenly, the robin flies to my front door and pecks at it repeatedly. 

Tap Tap Tap Tap—Tap Tap

Is the bird after the grapevine wreath? Does it hope to come in out of the cold?

I drive on to the store, the mystery of who, solved, but I can’t stop wondering why.

As the pattern continues day after day, I recall that Edgar Allan Poe wrote a poem about similar bird behavior. But he spoke of a raven. Could a robin do the same?

My husband finally hears the sound one day while home for lunch. 

Tap Tap Tap Tap—Tap Tap

He walks to the door and gently knocks on the inside of it, sounding much like the bird outside. 

Tap Tap Tap Tap—Tap Tap

 “What are you doing?” I ask as he returns to the kitchen, a satisfied smile on his face.

 “Morse code, right?” he says with a shrug.

“How would you know? When did you ever learn Morse code?” I pull up a Morse code translator on my phone and punch in **** ** to repeat the pattern made by the robin.

The translation: H—I

I am shocked. Shouldn’t the bird be saying nevermore?

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