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May 7, 2020: Spring: Great Joy and Great Sorrow

This morning I knew for sure spring was here. I looked out at the trees and could see that they were starting to green up. And although there were, here and there, patches of snow, the lawn also sported patches of green. And birdsong, yes, the birds have come back. Each year, there are fewer and fewer birds as indicated by less and less song, so I listen carefully to what appears to be out there.

A few friends had told me about robin sightings. I heard some yesterday but had yet to see any. Then this morning, as I was sitting on the kitchen stair steps, I looked out the window and saw three of them. All were young, all were in good condition – I’d say the prime of their life. I welcomed them home.

Great joy and great sorrow
Great joy and great sorrow

One came very close to the base of the house. I got a close look at him or her, could see white around his or her eyes. A fine looking bird, I thought.

Such joy – this sighting made me feel joyous. There is something about robins, it is that they are the official harbinger of spring. They travel a long ways to get here, then in the fall, one day, head south. It isn’t an easy life. I hope with fewer people traveling that this year has been easier for them.

My mood took a nosedive this afternoon. I had just cleaned Buckwheat’s pen and was heading in the direction of Stormy and Ranger’s pen when I saw it. The robin that I’d seen close up in the morning was in the middle of the pen, dead. I opened the gate and picked it up. The corpse was cold. The odd thing was, there were absolutely no blemishes. The body was in perfect condition. A taxidermist would gladly have taken this robin on.

Pete speculated that he/she maybe hit the goat shed window. I was dubious because the robin’s neck was not broken. It was so very strange.

I took the robin and buried it in the manure pile behind the hoop house. I didn’t bury it too deep, for perhaps I thought, I’d made a mistake and he/she was still alive. If so, he/she could get out of the heap and live to see another day. It’s also buried where there are thousands of worms, so if it is still alive it won’t have to go far for food. I didn’t write a eulogy because I didn’t think about it. I guess that this dispatch is it.

I feel really bad about what happened. I think of this bird, traveling so far to get here. Then boom, on the onset of spring, this occurs. It just didn’t seem right or fair or just. I do not know how reincarnation works, and if robins come back as robins. I’d like to think that somehow, somewhere, the soul of this little robust bird lives on.

When people die, we continue to remember them. I am going to remember this robin.

Next: 128. 5/8/20: A Conversation with Eleanor

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