Tuesday, March 29, 2011

REASSURING ROBIN



I wish I looked and felt as bright-eyed and cheerful as this robin I found practically at my feet this morning. I'd stepped out onto the deck to check on the river and allow Moon-the-dog to make her usual investigation of the cedars over by the board fence, when the bird flew down from a nearby box elder and landed no more than three feet away. After giving me a moment's close scrutiny—Does he look the sort who'd relish robins-on-toast for breakfast?—the bird apparently decided I passed inspection…and in the usual robin fashion, tilted and dashed forward even closer, stopping about a foot from the rock upon which I stood. 

I switched on the autofocus, held the camera at knee-level, and pushed the shutter. The friendly robin didn't flinch.

Robins are the personification of spring, a harbinger of the season itself. Their sudden en masse arrival on local lawns in late-February or early-March is newsworthy—a message of hope and changing times to be related to neighbors you meet at the mailbox, the cashier at the corner market, or the old gent down at feed-and-seed store. And such info will doubtless become the morning's premiere conversation topic among the breakfast bunch down at the local caf√©. 

Even non-birder types incapable of naming a half-dozen common backyard species can usually manage to recognize a robin. They know what the robin's annual return implies, too—though you, being privy to such secrets, know that for many robins, their overwintering destination was often no farther away than the nearest woodland thicket. No matter—the facts and folklore don't have to match. Besides, you're as glad as they are to see robins on the lawn again…even if they've been hiding quite nearby these past months.

As winter turns to spring, robins sing in the season. How many mornings in March and April have I stood in the pre-dawn darkness and listened to a robin belting out his ebullient melody from some nearby treetop? It may not be the most complicated tune in the bird world, but it's catchy and swinging, filled with the bright green joy of spring, and the robin sings loud and clear with the lusty verve of his lark heritage. 

These past few days have been cold and often cloudy. Nothing out of the ordinary; just spring doing its usual seasonal two-step. But I've had enough. I'm weary of gray skies and heavy jackets. The grass is green…but not much else. I want to look through the woods on the islands and see that fine green "mist" among the skeletal limbs and intertwined branches that tells me things are beginning to leaf out. I want to amble a forest hillside and search for wildflowers. I'd like to plant a few bulbs in the garden. Or sit on the bench beside the river and warm my bones in the sun. My back and knee still ache. 

I want to stand by the cottage pool, cast my fly, and again feel the sudden electric weight of a smallmouth bass on the end of my line.

Yes…I know—all this will come in time. Maybe that's why this morning's robin came so near…to reassure me that all I have to do is wait.
———————                        

14 comments:

Beyond My Garden said...

A lucky encounter with such a friendly robin. (But, then, we often make our own luck, don't we?) My morning walk, today brought me the serenade of robins.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Isn't that interesting Grizz, because our robin in the UK - rather different from yours of course - is the personification of Christmas and all things wintery. He is the only bird who consistently sings right through Winter. Like you I am desperate for Spring's arrival.

Wanda..... said...

The wild Honeysuckle Bushes here are trying their best to produce that hazy green look in the woods, not quite there though, but the White Trout Lilies are up.

Gail said...

Grizz-

the truth you see and feel and know about nature is lovely. A robin told you a whole story - actually made you promises that you know will be kept. People should always as forth-right. Your communion with all things nature is profound and honest and I learn from you every time you write. But I more than learn way more - I am inspired, challenged, understood, hopeful, calm, ever-changing and loved - through you, because of you and your view-vision from your humble cottage on the river many others have hope.
with love and appreciation
Gail
peace.....

Grizz………… said...

Beyond My Garden…

I don't think I've ever before encountered such a trusting robin. Though I didn't say so in the post, that robin stayed within a yard or two of where I stood for upwards of ten minutes—in fact, until Moon-the-dog came snuffling over to see why I'd apparently become rooted in place.

My mornings, too, are filled with robin-songs.

Grizz………… said...

Weaver…

Yes, in spite of their very similar appearance, our robins and yours are very different birds. I din't know that your UK birds were winter singers, though. That's interesting.

Hang in there—spring will eventually, in its own good time, arrive

Grizz………… said...

Wanda…

No real green here yet, other than grass, wild onion, and the like. A few forsythia bushes are starting to bloom (not mine) and the early daffodils are going. No trout lilies, either.

But I bet the red maples on the hillsides down your way are showing a crimson blush.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Yup, I listened to that robin and believed it. Birds never lie. The overall message of nature is always one of honesty—told boldly, without pretense, in color and sound with a bit of seasonal scent carried on the wind.

I'm glad you like to read these posts, pleased you find something of value here, and humbled by the trust you have in my wisdom…though I must tell you truly, I am no nature sage, no riverbank oracle. There is nothing special about me.

I regularly stumble my way through my days, a bundle of fears and doubts, thoroughly dissatisfied with myself. I write about birds and squirrels, wildflowers, trees and creeks and geese on the wing because that's where I'm most comfortable—who I am, really. I find no joy or meaning in Facebook or Twitter; but there's solace and understanding in rivers and woods, old fields and bluestem prairies. I fit in there. When the robin sings, I listen, because there's beauty therein—and one of the few things I do know is that your life can never be too full of friendship and love, laughter, compassion, and beauty.

Gail said...

....and your humble words only serves to enhance the magic of you wisdom and simple, natural life. SO stumble along and I am right beside you fumbling as well and knowing that with honest friendship, love and humility we all hold one another up. I am proud and honored t stumble along this path with you - albeit in blog-land it is a path that we found and have joined in stride.
Love to you always
Gail
peace......

KGMom said...

I do love robins. I love their brazen look, staring at you as if to say--what are you looking at?

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

That's me—simple, confused, and prone to stumbling. A pratfall poster child. Your fearless leader along life's muddy path. A virtual Dan'el Boone with a set of worry beads.

Glad to have you along…

Grizz………… said...

KGMom…

They will, indeed, give you an appraising and often imperious look. And their rich, rusty-orange breast is just gorgeous.

AfromTO said...

They say most depression happens in spring and fall so try to get as much sunlight as possible to lighten up your mood-and maybe a bit a sun heat will warm up your aching bones.We all slump sometimes.Thanks for your photos they always lift me up a little.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO …

I think the toughest time for me is mid- to late-summer when we have day after day of blue skies and sunny, hot weather. That's my least favorite time of the year. Spring is my hands down favorite. I'm more bummed out now about my knee than the weather—although the prospects of snow this morning isn't exactly the news I want to hear. But I have to work at my desk today—deadlines to meet—and so I can't go a'rambling anyway.

I am anxious to get out and spend time photographing. I'm glad you get a little lift from some if the pix.