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January 14th 2010    Tim Candler

    Robins spent a good part of yesterday's afternoon providing apoplexy for the Close Mockingbird while I struggled with a fuel line on a mowing machine. 

    It was one of those moments of anticipation when pottering with a mechanical device reaches conclusion.  But as I poured gasoline into the tank, I was quickly aware of a leak and suddenly I was no longer cold.   And this was probably how the Close Mockingbird felt when that band of wandering Robins chose to sample his Alatus berries.

     In the population of birds that flock in winter, Robins fall readily into street corner habits.   They are not like Starlings, who when they are together appear intent and purposeful in their chase through sky into tree tops.  Starlings are like gangs, they fly as one and are discouraged as one.   For Starlings winter is a cocktail party that travels.  Robins long ago rejected such a structure, as mismatched to their individualist concept of being.  They prefer an innocent amble, a curious eye, and none of them trust each other.

    While the Close Mockingbird addressed Robins, I flapped at the issue of gasoline dripping from a mowing machine by running around searching for shallow containers that do not leak.   Nor is gasoline good for red blotches on pink skin, so I was dainty and flouncing relative to the Close Mockingbird, who increasingly assumed postures that referenced a more clearly masculine display.

     Wretched fuel line, and I already had a replacement.   Oddly though, it was the sound of a mowing machine galloping into purpose, despite snow on the grass, that finally persuaded Robins that this was an unbalanced place for them.       

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