the nest, emptying….
a dear friend sent this along (the link i’m tucking below ), telling me only that he thought of me when he watched it. he tacked on the note: “long-term video of a robin’s nest on a front porch, with bittersweet ending.”
i braced myself for the bittersweet. couldn’t bear to click on it for an hour or two. but finally i did. and when i did, i knew i was bringing it here, to the table. where one recurring and quietly pulsing thread is that we are, at varying stages, all witnessing a bit of this mama robin’s dilemma. she spends her days loyally brooding her eggs, then she exhausts herself filling their ever-open, ever-squawking beaks with worm after worm. after worm. then, frames later, comes the bittersweet.
i won’t spoil it, but there’s a flash of a look on mama robin’s face, one you might call bewilderment, or maybe something wholly other than that. you decide, and decipher. all i know is i felt a total pang of “i know how she feels. i know just how she feels.”
here’s mama robin and her nestlings….
and so it fits these years and days — here in this old house, at least — when one nestling has just swirled home for a short three weeks, maybe never again to live here. and the little one, who turned 12 yesterday, is still very much a part of the thick and the thin of every day. but because i’ve just witnessed the full-throttle slam of how swiftly they slip away, how swiftly they enter a current that — at best — gives you a glimpse from the river bank, or occasionally eddies in late-night phone call, i am trying in double-time to live in the moment, and freeze-frame it off to the side.
all over town i see folks who just a few weeks ago — or so it seems — were filling their supervans with unending shifts and rounds of carpools to hither and yon. and now, “for sale” signs are staked in front yards, as hollow old houses echo with yet another generation’s tucked away hubbub and commotion. breakfast tables, now hushed but for the sliding of the butter dish. no more shoving and pushing of cereal boxes across the maple plain. no more knocked-over OJ. maybe only a bed or two to make in the morning.
and all over town, i hear scratching of heads, as mamas and papas wonder and ask, “how’d that happen so fast? wasn’t i just deep in the thick of it, in the shopping-for-school-supplies, signing-permission-slips, forking-out-dues, lying-awake-listening-for-footfalls, and now, now it’s all distant, all miles and miles and months and years away?”
so, mama robin, i know just how you feel. i know you’re a bird and i’m not. but that quizzical look on your face, that look as you fly home to the nest, only to find it emptied and hollow, i know it.
and i’m holding on tight to every moment i’ve got, soaking it deep in my heart and my soul.
anyone got a spare worm?
your thoughts as you watched mama robin?
oh let’s have lunch…………
Beautiful….I was struck by the growing demands of the baby birds. Made me think of those moments when all three little birds of mine were demanding attention in the grocery store, and then later, and more loudly, as teenagers when we were trying to come to some sort of family consensus around just about anything. There was the jostling for room as they outgrew the nest. The nest seemed to grow so much smaller by the end. Mama did look bewildered when she showed up with that last worm. I am wondering was she off to track her babies down or was she off to a bird bath for a spa moment and then dinner at a feeder…to reflect on a mama job well done. Hope it was the latter!
It was deja vu all over again, watching the video. Mama Bird coming home with a nice juicy worm for…no one? A week after our big guy first left for the cornfields, I went grocery shopping. I came home with the usual 5 gallons of milk…only to find 3 gallons still in the fridge. Never realized how strong his bones must be…And didja notice the last little, um, “mess” the lagger left behind? Mama B comes back, and I swear she was banging her head against the wall at kids who don’t clean up after themselves. I have to find it funny, because we took the big guy back to the cornfields last weekend, and
if I don’t laugh I’ll sniffle. But he did make his bed before he left, so no head-banging on my part. Well, maybe a little, as I ship off the forgotten retainer, alarm clock, journal…tucking cookies and lemonade mix in alongside.
ahhh, notherbarb, i ALWAYS love reading when you pull up a chair. i was laughing as i read your head-banging interpretation. i do think you’ve hit the nail on the head, or the beak on the nest — so to speak. so sorry to hear you’ve delivered the boy to the cornfields already. my boy returns to western mass — asparagus fields, there — come wednesday. his little brother looked as if he’d been struck by a speeding truck when he realized tonight that his big bro is leaving in a mere five days….. wonder what i’ll mail in the left-behind box — for you know there will be one. xoxo