(picture taken from abeachcottage.com)
It's finally starting to feel like spring. We watched the last of our massive snow pile dwindle away to a single snow ball this weekend, and have been soaking up signs of springtime everywhere we go. I saw my first robin this afternoon and wanted to go kiss it.
Did you know the average life span of a robin is 1.5 years? And the majority of a robin's life is spent on two things - building a safe, protective home for its babies and bringing them into this world. While the male robin's role in this endeavor is of course important, the female robin typically builds the nest and spends 50 minutes out of every hour incubating those perfect little blue eggs like it was her sole purpose in this life. Different species, all mothers.
And who knew you were gonna get all this bird knowledge, right?! So while the male robin is thought to find the location of the nest, it is the female robin who builds it, a fascinating process that can take a week to complete. It involves long, exhausting trips back and forth to the nest, carrying small pieces of twig, or leaf, or leftover yarn remains from winter scarves. She molds or weaves them together with nothing but her beak, using her saliva to make a mud paste to help hold it together and keep her eggs warm and protected against predators, late springtime rain storms, or in some cases, basketballs, depending on whether that (very typical) male robin decides to pick the location. Who would have thought priorities are an issue in the bird community, too.
It's no wonder robins are the ultimate sign of spring. Besides the hope we feel when we see that first one meandering through our front yard looking for its dinner, robins represent so much of what I love about this time of year. It's a time of renewal, a time of growth. A time to chip away at the bad habits that seemed to escalate during the long end-of-winter months and revive parts of your life that need a little spring cleaning. You open the windows and let that fresh air blow away the dust that's collected and find ways to bring new life to your attitude, your goals, your plans, and your home.
This afternoon, I realized how much I had missed being outside. I had missed that familiar stillness inside the halls of Cruz's daycare and the laughter heard through the open windows from the playground. I had missed Cruz's windblown hair and the smell of our grocery store's outdoor grill and the mob of people lingering outside longer than usual. I had missed that first walk around our neighborhood, this time helping Cruz steer a tricyle instead of pushing him in his plastic car. Seasons change, but we keep going, back and forth, building our nests with resilience.
And just like the robin, my nest is a work in progress. Little by little, I'm collecting my twigs and leaves, and as each new piece gets secured in the mold, I feel accomplished, relieved, and renewed. Whether it's clean windows, a fresh dinner and summer cocktail, or renewing my subscription to daily scripture readings, I'm looking forward to building my nest this spring and enjoying all the signs that tell me good things are on the way.
Like pictures. They're coming, I promise. My camera has missed the outdoors, too.
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