We had an incredibly hot stretch of weather for May in Wisconsin. I spent the day outside, gardening in the shade. The heat was way too intense to work in the sunshine. Luckily, my shady garden bed needed lots of work, and that included lots of watering. Our cold well water felt wonderful on my bare feet and arms, and kept the ground around me cool while the sun shone down outside of my shady zone.
When I came around the corner of the house, I found a robin sitting under my little patio table. He sat there in the shade of the umbrella and looked at me. So I began to speak to him, and I got his full attention. Then I started to sing to him. I tried to make myself sound somewhat bird-like, with repetitions of high scales like vocal warm ups. When I hit the highest note, he stretched his neck, lifting his head up higher off of his shoulders, all the while looking right at me. I don’t know if that was good or bad in bird body language, but I definitely had his attention.
Earlier that day, I had potted up some plants and watered them by the patio table. Mr. Robin must have found that spot in the shade of the umbrella to be nice and cool on such a hot day. We visited for a while, and I enjoyed our interaction, but I decided I needed to continue with my work. I kept an eye on the little guy, who hung around in the damp garden areas where I had recently worked. As I planted my way around the bed, I watered, probably more than I needed to, as the cold water felt so good as I shared in the spray. At one point, I gave my little buddy a shower, too! I let him feel the very edge of the hose spray, where it is the softest, and he enjoyed a cold little shower on a very hot day!
After a while, my little friend hopped on over and hung out under the shade of my magnolia tree while I worked. He didn’t seem afraid, and I continued to talk with him. I worked for some time, taking many breaks due to the heat – one advantage of landscaping for myself instead of for employment! Mr. Robin was always nearby, within 8 to 10 feet of me, watching me work and catching any tiny insects that crawled out of the newly wetted soil.
Lunchtime came, and I went inside, leaving the heat of the day for respite in the air conditioning. After a couple of hours, I returned to my work, and to my surprise, Mr. Robin was still hanging around!
I worked for another few hours, and my little feathered friend stuck around. I could walk near him, within 6 feet or so, on my way to another part of the yard, and he never hopped away or showed any fear. He never tried to fly away, and I began to wonder if he was all right. During one of my breaks, I researched robins on my phone and found out that the brighter colored birds are the males. That’s why I call him Mr. Robin!
At one point, I saw he had gotten a big worm from the dry ground by the maple tree. He held it up for me to see, and he seemed quite proud. I thought perhaps once he ingested it, he would probably he heading back to the nest to share with his babies. But still he hung around the lilac bush, happily hopping about in the shade.
After another in-house break, I ventured out with my kitty on her harness to let her play for a while. I immediately saw that the robin was still over by the lilac bush, and quickly picked up Bella and put her back inside.
Sometime during the evening, Mr. Robin flew home. I let Bella out to play, and thought about the story that I would get to tell of a unique day where two species coexisted for an afternoon. Our acquaintance lasted about 6 hours, and it seemed unbelievable at the time, and seems so now in the telling. But it happened, and I thoroughly enjoyed my day in the shade in Mr. Robin.
At the end of a long day, or anytime, really... this is a favorite place of mine to relax.
Beauty is there for us to find when we search for it. And within the beauty of Nature, there is hope to find.