The nest on my porch is empty now but in the spring of 2008 it belonged to a pair of robins and their two babies. After several weeks of dropping worms into eager beaks, the robin parents retreated to adjacent trees and watched the fledglings attempt to leave. At first the downy young robins stood side by side, perhaps plotting their exit strategies. Then they took off in opposite directions. One glided safely to a cluster of shrubs at the garden’s edge while the other became entangled in a piece of porch furniture. The ill-fated bird was rescued and placed back in the nest. He stood there for several days, motionless except for his darting eyes, while his parents shrieked at him from opposite sides of the porch. One day, he was gone, and so were they.
My son will be leaving home soon but the robin’s nest will remain on the porch pillar, a comforting reminder of the bond between us and between all living things.