How divine she was; trés élégant really.
Tall and thin, alert eyes rimmed in white mascara and gleaming, her breast shimmering, catching the afternoon light like a pillow of ruddy silk…her heart turned inside out. I watched through the binoculars, delighted with her economy of motion, her intensity and focus. Her perkiness.
I’ve never found robins to be particularly beautiful – quite common, actually – but on this day, in this light, on this mission, she enthralled me.
She’d scurry through the grass a few steps, then stop, stretching herself upright in one swift movement, back straight, head high, tail feathers outright. Her body seemed to elongate, as she sought the tallest vantage. Then she’d dip her head, sally forth, then bolt upright again, like a long-waisted groundhog peering above the grass.
She was in her glory.
As I watched, she filled her bill with dragonflies, worms, insects. Occasionally, she stretched her neck and bobbed her head, opening her bill just enough to shuffle the feast, getting better purchase. I watched her gathering a varied harvest for her brood and shortly, filled to capacity, she flew into the trees.
Moments later, she was back, foraging again.
How I envied her easy assurance.
As many hours as I’ve spent, steadily paring down the excess and clutter – the diversions of life – to reach into the real heart of me, I still have days when I grasp for the sense of peace that comes from knowing I am in the real, honest, gushing current of what I do best. Then I pine for one of those moments that come quickly, without warning, elevating the common to sublime. Rare gifts of kindness, they are; a glimpse of another horizon to acknowledge I am on the right path.
This is my best self. This is who I want to be more and more, by God’s grace. These are the moments I will remember on my deathbed and say, “That was what I was meant for.”
Much later, as afternoon waned, I heard the robin’s satisfying song bursting forth from the shelter of trees, a complex melody larger than she, notes carried on currents unseen, but trusted; a song birthed in her very soul, a song she was born knowing.
In that moment, she was joy: joy of living, of providing, of fulfilling…joy of simply being.
She was made for this.
With your very own hands you formed me;
now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.
~Psalm 119:73 The Message
(Many thanks to New Brunswick photographer, Brigitte Noel, who graciously shared her image of the American Robin that I used in this post.)