She sat upon the roof overlooking my perch upon the porch swing.
Watching me closely, she paced back and forth. It was the closest she’d ever come to me and I wondered if the babies had hatched.
She’d built her nest on top of the security light mounted by the backdoor and under the eave. A good place, it would have seemed. Sheltered from the rain and off the ground, I’m sure that she thought it was a good choice. If only that door did not open and shut so many times a day. And each time, she flew away to guard her babies from a safe distance.
I reassured her, speaking out loud, that I would not harm her or her babies, and I tried to send her the energy that she would sense and know that I was not a threat.
Even so, she paced back and forth, then flew to a nearby tree branch, and nervously hopped onto a power line. She obviously felt my words could not be trusted.
We’d been away for four days on a short vacation, and I hoped that during that time, she’d had enough time to warm her eggs and give them the proper incubation.
This was actually her second nest. The first had been invaded by another bird, which my husband caught red-beaked. It was so startled by his exit from the house that it darted straight out of the nest, dropping the little blue egg and flying directly into the wall of the house. After checking for survivors, my husband took the nest down for fear the heat of the outdoor light might catch it on fire.
But this Robin, she had her heart set on this spot. And within a week, a new nest had been constructed right where her old one had sat.
“Not very smart,” I had told my husband when we discovered it. Then I thought about the name people call someone who is kind of dumb or confused – Bird Brain. I guess the name was created for a reason.
Even so, I hope she is successful in raising her babies to adulthood without her nest being invaded or them falling to the hard concrete patio below.
I guess that is the wish of most mothers – success, whatever that is.
I had a few ideas about what successful parenting meant, and what successful children would be like, in my youth. But I’ve watched and I’ve learned and the most you can really hope for is that your children will grow from their mistakes, keep their hearts open and learn compassion instead of bitterness and anger from the pain and injustices that life’s journey can lay in one’s path.
Maybe a bird’s life would be easier. Feed and protect them when they are young, then push them out of the nest and set them free to feed and protect themselves. If you really think about it, that’s not so Bird-Brained. Humans tend to cling to their young, hold onto their children for meaning and identity in their own lives. And humans hardly ever just throw the kids out to fly free. No, we attach ourselves to them – all in the name of love. Or fear.
I guess the Robin doesn’t have that choice. The skies are too vast, and her instincts call to her each spring to start all over again – each year, again and again. Create and let go.
A good lesson, I think. Maybe the Robin wasn’t watching her nest and protecting it after all. Maybe she was watching over me and protecting me – from me. My empty nest lies just around the corner. Time for me to set my children free.
Time to create and let go.