I’m sitting at the kitchen table talking with my daughter about past, present, future — one or all of those mixed in together; it’s late adolescent talk; the future hovers around us all the time, all day long — when I see a robin swoop up to our porch beam, its beak full of limp weed.
For the first time in the half dozen years we’ve lived here, robins are building a nest a few feet from our kitchen door.
In our other house, robins crafted fat nests in our sugarhouse and under our balcony. We witnessed baby beak feedings and collected blue ragged shells. Twice, a hawk ate fledglings — the course of nature, but sorrowful.
Rain has fallen all day. There’s an underlying promise of deepening green with the rain, but the hours have been cheerless and cold, filled not with any bad news but the accrual of petty things that drag at all our lives.
A robin stands on the porch railing, eyeing us through the glass door. Its mate flies in quickly, busy busy in the nest. Time is of the essence in bird movement. The robins are a little story come to stay with us for a short while.
Build and thrive, I think. Thrive.
“I was convinced that birds were kinds of souls. Not the souls of people but of previous birds whose mystery and beauty were so necessary on earth that God would not allow them to be anything in their second life but birds again.”— Howard Norman