Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Leaving the Nest

Sitting in one of the purple armchairs by the fireplace this morning doing my Carswell work (after all, it is a Tuesday!), I was privileged to see this tender scene unfolding outside the window:

An infant robin flew shakily onto the wrought iron table and refused to budge, claws clinging to the scroll work. It looked from side to side, eyes enormous in its little head, baby fluff still tangled in its almost-grown feathers. I heard it cheeping frantically; and all at once there was an answering cheep and its mother landed next to it on the table. She talked to it for a while, and the baby replied. She flew to the ground and cheeped from there; the baby again replied but still seemed unable to move.

The wind was blowing without regard for this frightened little creature, who puffed out its feathers in feeble defence. Its mother finally seemed to give up and flew away. I watched helplessly from inside the warm room as the baby cried pitifully for several minutes.

Suddenly there was a rustle of wings and the mother landed back on the table with a snack in her beak. She came right over to her little one and, breast to breast, fed it until it had consumed the whole thing. She then hopped onto the ground again and looked up, calling to her baby to join her. The young robin looked down and answered but still did not move.

Again the elder bird flew away; and, sure enough, in a few minutes she returned with another tempting morsel. She landed on the table right next to the baby -- but this time, as the young one reached for the snack, the mother hopped one step away. The infant, with much trembling and cheeping, hopped one step closer to its mother. The mother retreated one more step and the baby followed. The process repeated until they were at the table's edge. Then the mother flew down to the ground and looked up, snack still in mouth.

Holding my breath I watched the baby peer over the side of the table and finally, FINALLY, flutter timidly down to the ground to join its mother, who promptly gave it the reward. And in the next minute they both flew to a low branch of the Schubert cherry tree.

I recalled the chat I had with one of "my girls" last night -- about how much I would miss her when she leaves the known parameters of the TH and Three Hills, about how much I want for her as she continues on to the next stage of her life's journey; and I thought about the rich, sweet conversation I had with a friend of mine at dinner earlier this evening -- she, too, is about to wing her way east to discover her passion and develop her potential.

To each of them I want to say, "Your presence in my life is such gift. You are truly an independent, strong, intelligent, beautiful young woman; a rara avis who can achieve anything to which you set your mind and your heart." I look forward to watching both of them rise and soar in the year to come. And I hope they cheep in my direction now and then!

I wish my Mum were sitting in the other purple armchair.


  1. Thank you for writing about this inspiring event. The picture is a gem. As the Queen of Tea you are a rara avis

  2. i will be sure to cheep. you can count on that. i may even pop in to help at a wedding rehersal or two ! much love to you - thank you for helping me find my wings.


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