An English In Kentucky



















May 4th 2009

    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 new 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.

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