robins love our skagit spot. and we love the robins. it's the light yellow eye liner they wear and that sassy deep orange breast. it's the way they hear worms. hear worms with their head cocked slightly. it's the way they hop. the way they sing. and the nests they leave in our trees.
the nests of mud, dried grass and strips of our weather-worn tarp all woven together and littered with egg shells bluer than a glacial lake which is so blue you feel it in your nose when you breath. the nests where the mama robin sits snugly and waits and waits. the nests where small dinosaur descendants chirp always for more.
the first nest i noticed was blown out of our poplar tree during a storm. it landed in the yard like a message from a mysterious world. like a gift for an altar. a beauty sculpture never before touched by hands until mine cradled it, cupped it, and felt its weight in my joined palms.
this year i noticed another nest in the poplar, atop a solid branch, nestled near the trunk. it was on the southwestern side of the tree so it would get good sun and too much wind. i saw a mama head peak out once or twice but then spring unleashed another tantrum of weather on us and mama bird hit the wind- looking for another spot.
she didn't travel far.
years back, ben scoped out a bright yellow, wavy plastic slide in a neighbor's field. being ben he inquired about it. and gave the folks his card just in case their relative grew tired of letting the cedar play structure decay amidst thistle and rye grass. a year later they called us and we created a paradise of play. over the years it has been added to. doors, a lookout post, the "fire club" wing. it has been written on with shamefully lame sidewalk chalk, carved into with knives nicked from the kitchen and hosted a thousand fits of laughter.
as you climb the ladder up into the pirate ship, the jail, the jungle, the -whatever-you-make-it- you pass under the empty sockets of a deer skull. this skull was found in the mountains of new mexico, given to seren as a birth gift, set on an ant hill for a spell and brought with us back to the northwest where a slight sheen of green moss has begun to grow on it. his six point antlers are dulled, chewed on by hungry rodents. his crown is crowned by a crown that hung on our front door five months ago, made by our neighbors out of a red-berry bush. and in that space now lives the mama robin.
her nest is about five feet off the ground which seems low for a bird who can loop and swoop over our house effortlessly. just like her old nest it faces south but it is under the canopy of our beloved red maple tree and so she has the shelter that the poplar could not give her. when you go outside she looks at your with that mama stare, that mix of don't and i-dare-you. seren discovered it when he climbed up the ladder and the squawking robin got him to thinking and then he looked down to see four bright blue eggs, that nose-hurting-blue, laid out like jewels in a case below him.
his excitement in telling me about them was really, really big.
it looks like an o'keefe painting- these blue orbs peeking out of a neat nest with a halo of twigs, all on the peak of a deer skull. it speaks the same language of her paintings.
the language of newness on top of oldness.
a circular link of life and death.
this gentle shape of an egg and the jagged edge of bone.
fragile miracle of flight, song, hatching and hope.
and the delight of two boys
one eager to sneek and peek
the other to protect and cherish
both briefly banished from their castle, their cave, their refuge
to give some space to this space
where a robin mama waits.