When we went out first thing to go down for our swim, I stopped by the bird feeder where juncoes were feasting on sunflower seeds and suet. I could hear them, could even hear the whirr of their wings as they darted in from the long branches of forsythia. But, oh, the sound of robins very near. These mornings I’ve been listening to varied thrushes, the long whistle on varying pitches, coming out of the quiet woods beyond the house. Later in spring, when there are salmonberries to feast on, we’ll wake to Swainson’s thrushes just beyond our bedroom window. This morning I listened to the robins, two of them, in the big firs below the printshop. Some years the pairs produce 3 families. Before we had a cat, before the weasels became habituated to our eaves and woodshed, the robins built their fine nest on the beam over our patio. I’d leave worms for the mother in a dish below the nest and she’d glide down, have a meal, then return to the eggs. I miss those connections, her slightly wild-eyed vigilance, the young constantly calling for food, and the moment when they left the nest, all awkward wing-flapping and noise. But I’m also glad they’re cautious enough not to build on the beam any longer because I’ll never forget the morning when I heard both parents making a hullabaloo, so loud I heard them from the kitchen, and when I went to the door to see what was going on, a weasel was feasting on the beautiful eggs on the laundry stoop.
What’s in a song? What’s in a robin song heard in the trees on a March morning? 40 springs, all of them woven together so tightly, so finely, that it’s hard to see where the beginning is, the end.