where I can watch you hopping along, pulling worms these warm winter days
unseasonable but I’m glad on your behalf, keeping my distance
hoping predators do the same, until you’re healed and take to the skies
lucky bird, forgive my bad Shakespearean pun: you’re Robin the Plucked
for salvation comes in the most peculiar ways, begging the question
of mortality, the taking and the giving in daily living
these two days I’ve watched your grounded red breast gleaming by the old arbor
—today, no sighting, inexplicable sadness despite the wonder
of your survival and the part I got to play. Little Robin, plucked
to live life anew, here’s to taking flight on your wings and my prayers.
Robin the Plucked right after his rescue from the grille of my sister-in-law’s SUV. She’d driven down I-95 a few days after Christmas to visit us. Robin had some feathers askew from his ordeal but his wings weren’t dragging; my husband and I put him in our fenced backyard in hopes that nature would take its course, that he’d soon be fit enough to fly again (and that he’d want to). There are no words to adequately describe him enmeshed in that grille, very much alive and calling out, or for the sight of him immediately trying to run once we got him loose and laid him on the grass. I was amazed and elated to see him eating in the backyard with other birds that came and went the next day. I didn’t go near him again, as when I attempted it, he ran. I refused to distress him any more (heaven knows being trapped on the front of a car going 70 mph is enough for a lifetime). I joke that he’s my last good deed of 2021; I kept an eye on him all yesterday. On this first day of 2022, he is gone.
I keep watching, however.
One final observation, regarding the symbolism of robins: They’re tied to a number of legends and mostly positive connotations like spring and good luck (begging another question: Who’s the actually the bringer of luck here, Robin the Plucked or me?). But the perspective of Mother Teresa moves me most at present, as quoted in No Greater Love (Benenate & Durepos) on the legend of the robin and Christ’s crown of thorns: “Each of us should try and be that bird – the little robin. When we see someone in pain, we must ask ourselves: ‘What can I do to give them comfort?’”
Happy New Year and new life to you, Robin, wherever you are.