In the Garden
A Summer Solstice Story
The longest day of the year is over and now we head
Inch by inch,
day by day
Into the darkening.
There is a sadness in
The garden today
It happened while we were
On a little outing
To ease our own
Recent sadnesses –
A father lost,
A daughter suffering,
A pair of mothers
But the garden sadness –
I fear –
May be of the worst
Mother Robin’s baby has
They are clearly an extraordinary couple
Those two – Momma and Papa Robin.
They built a large nest right in the
Thickest part of the cherry tree.
That first morning we were here,
Groggy from unpacking,
Standing at the kitchen window,
I noticed something glittering
In that old tree.
As I opened the door, out popped Papa Robin
Pretty as you please.
He landed on the fence post and began to sing
The most uproarious of songs.
Pride mixed with admonition – come out here and see me,
But don’t you get to close now
I drew closer to the edge of the porch and that attached to that glittery thing
Was a plump and spacious nest.
Turns out the shiny thing was a carefully attached nosegay of Christmas tinsel
Silver, red, gold
As I watched the couple I learned how very proud they were of their unconventional home.
And to me it seemed a happy miniature of our own,
Flashy red door
And so on.
I thought we had chosen well indeed.
As we settled in
Began to dig in the dirt
Set up our feeders
Saucy Robin seemed
To delight in his good
Fortune – as did we
New soil, juicy worms
Why – even a bird bath below the nest
No need for foraging afar anymore
The couple didn’t bat an eye at the invasion of
Sparrows, finches, grackles and so forth – all showing
Up for our top of the line food
Those two were tough –
They could withstand anything
But it must have been the storm that rolled through
On the night we were away that did it
Summer solstice it was – longest day of the year
Because there she was this morning –
Sweet little fledgling thing –
Floating in birdbath
Would she have survived the fall if she had landed on the
Hard pebbles instead? Should we move the bath?
Change things up?
Those are questions for later.
Now, what is important is that I handle this sweet child with some dignity – the way I would want for my own – for her mother’s and her father’s sake.
I get the shovel
I dig a hole in the hard, dry ground
Right under that tree
I try to make it as deep as I can
I place the sweet child inside
Cover her up
Place tow sticks in the form of a cross on the breast of her grave
And another straight up at her head.
I go into the house
Gather some flowers –
The ones left over from my own sweet daughter’s
House warming bouquet
I come back to place the flowers over her only to find
Another stick has been stuck in the ground beside her
I smile, look around to find what I already know to be true –
There are no other humans around in this garden
There are only sad Robins
I place my flowers on her grave and offer up a hope – a prayer
As each day shortens, so too may the sadness of
Momma and Papa Robin.
June 24, 2015