The Dark

Early this morning, not long after dawn, robins swooped by my kitchen window, flying busily with their beakfuls of twisted straw, tangled weeds, a red streamer from my daughter’s birthday.  Bending over the sink, I peered up through the window where these robins are resuccitating the nest beneath the bedroom’s balcony.  What possessed these creatures to appear again?  The girls and I have been banging in and out of that back door for weeks, even moving a refrigerator with great effort and noise.

I’m certain these birds appeared just this morning; I would have noticed them earlier.  It pleases me to think of this robin couple scouting out this thrice-used, well-mudded nest, choosing it while I slept, dreaming or not, just a few feet away.  Will eggs be laid and hatched?  Will the fledglings live?  None of this has come to pass yet.  But the night has borne us this robin family.

In the same way, the seeds in my garden are using the soil’s cover and night to germinate and sprout.  Too often, we fear the dark, with our easy reliance on electric light.  A real joy to rural living is the starlit nights and the nocturnal animal world.  I often step out on the balcony with my younger daughter before she goes to bed.  Listen, we say, what’s happening now?  These late spring, early summer nights are such a pleasure. With the windows open, the nightsounds flow through the screens.  Last night, a moth found its way through a broken screen and lay on my wrist while I read, so delicate it was hardly a presence, and yet its beige wings slowly folded and unfolded, before it rose and took flight.

The short night;
the peony opened
during that time.

–  Buson

photo of spring beauty by Molly S.