What better for Easter weekend then a little reminder of spring. With the coming of the robin comes the thawing of the earth. For if a robin can find a worm, the earth must be teeming with life. After freezing in my man-cave for many a month, the phrase that comes to mind is HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL.
My number one visual of the American Robin is a road runner. I think of the Looney Tune bird racing across my yard. Darting here and there. Boy are those robins quick! And I am forever amazed at how many worms they get!
While hunting around for interesting tidbits on robins, I came across a webpage devoted to robins through the poetry of Emily Dickinson. As a child in New England we were all forced to read Dickinson. Force me to do anything and I will resist! But now, 20 years later, sitting in my chair sipping coffee, gazing out into my little yard, Emily Dickinson’s words have found new meaning. She paints with words. I never saw it until now, but every sentence conjures up such beautiful images for me. I thought I’d share two favorites:
The Robin is a Gabriel
In humble circumstances –
His Dress denotes him socially,
Of Transport’s Working Classes –
He has the punctuality
Of the New England Farmer –
The same oblique integrity,
A Vista vastly warmer –
A small but sturdy Residence
A self denying Household,
The Guests of Perspicacity
Are all that cross his Threshold –
As covert as a Fugitive,
By Ditties to the Enemy
And Sylvan Punctuation –
Mmm. Letting that soak in. As a painter, I love the wrens, the nuthatches, the robins, but they are brown, black, blah…. (not really-but you get my point) I understand fully their feathers are perfection. Evolutionarily speaking, their feathers help them blend into their environ effortlessly. But as the artist, we want them to stand out. We want to call attention to them through our work, but their very essence is not to stand out.
I love to be in a gaze, staring at nothing really, but as I tune in, I realize the earth is moving. from under the dead brown leaves come tons of little birds, who just a moment before I couldn’t see. Then I am reminded, that us humans, if we choose the undertaking, are the earth’s observers. We are here to consciously observe. Such a very difficult job, when our brains can do so many things at once, but this is what birds do for me. They slow down my thoughts and they force me to observe that there is a whole world out there that has nothing to do with human interaction. This gives me solace.