We were on the hunt for the perfect rock to place in a new section of the garden.
As the leader of this little expedition, I was scouting out front and hubby with the wheelbarrow in hand was pulling up the rear. Recent road work had brought a number of large rocks to the surface of the soil in the vacant lot beside the house and I was on the lookout for the consummate rugged specimen.
We were anything but quiet explorers-chattering away to one another while the old rusted wheelbarrow creaked and squeaked as it passed over the rough terrain. As I passed alongside one of the recently planted blue spruce trees, there was a sudden and frantic fluttering of wings. An adolescent robin attempted to take flight, but his inexperienced wings faltered, and he fell to the ground in front of me.
The young robin sat in the long grass regarding me with his big dark eyes. On a nearby branch, Mother Robin was anything but calm in the face of this perceived danger. She began squawking an angry warning while flying from the branch of one tree to another. She was not going to give up her baby without a loud, angry protest.
"What do you think we should do?", I asked turning to hubby.
"What can you do, but try to pick it up, and put it back in the nest.", he replied.
I bent down and scooped up the tiny creature. Birds always feel so delicate and frail in your hands. I always feel like it is like trying to grasp warm air in your fingers!
I expected the young robin to protest or even peck at my fingers with his beak, but instead he was quiet, as if resigned to the fact that his fate was literally in my hands.
I circled around the blue spruce looking for the nest. Mom's frantic squawking had alerted Dad and now they both took turns swooping past us with their warnings. The tree was not tall (maybe five feet) and so I had no problem spotting the nest on the far side near the top. I reached up and carefully placed their baby back in the nest. The young robin settled in while his angry parents did their very best to try to appear threatening.
I can identify with the parent's trepidation for their young offspring. On Monday, our one and only son started his first good job with a rate of pay higher than an hourly wage. Now that he is all grown up, with his own shiny blue car in the driveway, a good salaried job with benefits, it won't be long before he too leaves the nest.
He's 24 and more than ready to go. His father and I are the ones who are struggling with the idea of seeing him finally take flight! We don't want him to go, although we both know he must.
On the morning of his first big day, hubby and I were working quietly together in the kitchen organizing the day's lunches. It is dark in the mornings now and there was even a bit of chill in the air. Can an early fall be headed our way?
I began cutting up a fresh cantaloupe (son's favourite) that we had gotten at the Farmer's Market on Saturday. Hubby busied himself taking the boxed leftovers out of the fridge and placing it in the appropriate lunch bags. Up until this point, our son's lunch bag had usually been a used shopping bag grabbed hastily as he dashed out the door. On this morning however, there was a sleek black lunch bag on the counter to go along with the new salaried job.
"There is not enough room in this thing!", hubby lamented when I handed him the tupperware container of cantaloupe and a snack sized crackers and cheese. "I'll have to put the plastic cutlery and his granola bar in the outside pouch."
Hubby zippered the front of the lunch bag closed and stood back unhappy. "He is never going to know that I have put anything in that outside pouch...maybe I better write him a note and put it inside the lunch bag to let him know."
Minutes later son breezed into the kitchen."Is my lunch ready? I'm late." Without waiting for an answer he unzipped the lunch box to check that everything was in order.
"What's this?", he asked pulling out his Dad's note.
"A note..." hubby started to explain.
"Oh my God! There is a note from my Mommy in my lunch!", son jokingly protested."How to destroy any chance I have of being the cool new guy at work."
"I wrote the note..." hubby protested.
"Oh, that's only slightly better!", son interrupted laughing, "At least a note from my Dad might say something like: Join the army or pack your bags and move out!...And what the heck is this?", he asked pulling out a packaged handy-wipe.
"Your Mom packed you an apple turnover for breakfast. It's a long dive and I thought your hands might get sticky in the car. And the note is to explain that there is a knife and fork in the outside pouch of your lunch box.", hubby finally said, his feather's a little ruffled by our son's mock outrage.
Hey, what can I say? Hubby is a man with a big heart!
The note and the handy-wipe got left behind on the counter and our son was out the door for the first day at his new job.
And so what ever became of the young robin who fell from the nest?
Just yesterday, I was walking to the back of the garden when I saw a greyish bird sitting on the ground near the herb garden. As I approached, it flapped its wings and managed to make it up to the arbor that you have seen featured so often in my photos.
There the bird sat looking down at me and I realized as I passed underneath the arbor that it was a young robin, perhaps even the same adolescent robin we had rescued a few days before. There was another flutter of wings and he flew to a low branch in the big maple nearby.
As I worked away in the garden that afternoon, I heard Mom and Dad Robin constantly calling out their encouragement to the young bird, "Take flight! Take flight!"