Tomorrow is an anniversary. Wisteria had
finished with its bloom. The Princess Trees were already in
leaf. I saw Cardinals for the First time. But it was the
American Robin that surprised me.
I once kept a postcard with a picture of an American
Robin on it. It looked like a larger bird with a wide rusty chest
and a small head. It looked nothing like the Robin I had seen on the
Christmas cards and which later I grew to respect.
I had crossed the Atlantic in about eight
hours. The first Europeans to have given this bird its name managed
the trip in a month, if they were lucky. I had always guessed that
their long dangerous trip was of such a traumatic nature that parts of
their imagination and memory were left behind.
The Robin 'redbreast' is small, maintains a year round
territory, will watch you dig earth, fly down to take a worm. The
American Robin is much larger, it flocks in the winter, it can be
noisy. Granted in the correct light it has a reddish
breast. Then, in the early summer the American Robin bobs along the frontiers of its
territory, in the way that the redbreast does year round.
The 'bob', is that little hop, a suspicious stare and
sometimes a listen. There was no longer doubt in my imagination
as to why those earlier strangers decided to
call this American bird a Robin. I would have done exactly the same.