A hope note
One day a bird’s nest appeared on our deck.
The engineer turned out to be a robin. When she flew off to pull worms out of the grass, I tiptoed out on the deck and slyly sneaked a peek. Three Carolina-blue eggs lay in the nest.
Two weeks later she had triplets. Two weeks after that, mother and fledges flew away.’
One act of that drama I cannot forget. Before the chicks were hatched, late one afternoon the winds kicked up, the sky turned black, and a mighty storm ‘ with thunder, lightning and hail ‘ beat upon our deck.’
Mama bird opened her wings and wrapped them around the nest, forming a cone-shaped umbrella. Torrents of water bombed the tent formed by her wings and rolled off. Hail hammered her body and bounced off. The mama robin waterproofed everything ‘ the whole nest, the three eggs ‘ with her wings. Only her head and wings were exposed.
She closed her eyes and took the hail’s best punch. Pea-sized hail pounding her quarter-pound body would be like grapefruit-size hail hitting a human. If the hailstones had been much larger, she couldn’t have survived.
She didn’t budge till the rain stopped. She knew her purpose in the grand scheme of things ‘ to bring her little ones safely through the storm.
I think of all the mothers (and fathers) who sacrifice body and soul ‘ whatever it takes ‘ to protect and sustain their young.
I find the lines of Emily Dickinson illuminating:
‘Hope is the thing with feathers
‘That perches in the soul,
‘And sings the tune without the words
‘And never stops at all.
‘And sweetest in the gale is heard
‘And sore must be the storm,
‘That could abash the little bird
‘That kept so many warm.’