Memories are Migratory

A flock of American Robins passing the area through may not seem especially worthy of note to some people. But if, like me, you remember them as one of the prevalent birds around you when you were growing up, you might notice it with a certain eager delight when several dozen of them descend on your holly tree and Indian Hawthorn hedge all of a sudden and dive on the berries like divas on diamonds. I

I had been seeing the signs of the early northward migration already, as the grackles that never entirely leave north-central Texas no matter what the season or weather were in ever larger clouds that swept from field to field and perched in growing masses at those points on the trees, hedges, bridges, billboards and power lines where we come to expect them to collect at dusk. It seems to me as though the sheer volume of grackles in the region means some have to migrate, however slightly, just to stay on the fringes of their preferred climate, so when the seasons change I do see even more than the typical congregation of those whistling, flitting avians hanging about on every corner and

But the robins, well, they are not so often seen in my own back garden. To be sitting at my desk and hear that familiar liquid warbling is to be transported to when I was climbing the backyard apple trees of my childhood. I looked up on that more recent afternoon from the predictable digital ‘pile’ of email and saw the unexpected flash of russet on a bird’s breast as it streaked by my window, then another and another, and suddenly felt I was in the midst of a happy storm of robins as they dashed and dove, a modest flock perhaps but enough in number to nearly strip the hedge and the little tree before retreating to the woods of the ravine behind for the evening. By next morning, there were fewer that came back for a final pit stop before the whole collective took wing to continue north. They came and went so fast, and moved so quickly and stealthily in the shrubbery in the meantime that I had no moment to grab a camera and commemorate the welcome moment.

The moment will, however, remain, just as the childhood pleasures were revived in the first chirruping calls and those quick glimpses of rosy feathers: robins will stay in my heart as long as the memories remain.

20 thoughts on “Memories are Migratory

  1. What a terrific experience for you Kathryn and a shame you couldn’t capture them on camera, but as you say you have the memory of them. We are lucky if we see the odd one or two in our garden. Robins remain for me, among all the glitter and contemporary designs, my favourite ever Christmas card! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ xx

    • I’m not sure if it’s the sweet purity of their chattering song or that beautiful blush on their breast or their seemingly peaceable nature that makes me feel this way, but they seem so inherently charming to me. A perfect Christmas card icon indeed!

    • Suddenly you made me think of the Tennessee Williams story ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’β€”though that one clearly had a very different character from the way I see (or, I gather, you see) robins! πŸ™‚

  2. Kinda Hitchcocky…. 🐣🐀πŸ₯🐦 ha!
    Can’t wait to see them up here in Illinois. They need to hang back a tad tho. We’re getting about 6 inches of the white stuff tomrw. Gaa! I need to move.

    • I did check around to see if Tippi Hedren was anywhere nearby just in case. I do so hope you’ll get dug out from under those piles of snow SOON! If you can’t stay warm there, perhaps you’d better head south with the flock!!

  3. I know what you mean, Kathryn, even if we are more a destination for the migratory birds than a rest stop. Let me see the first pussy willows, though, and I’m back in 1st Grade bringing a few branches to the nun, Sr. Mary Rosalie, for her vase. πŸ™‚

  4. What a wonderful sight, Kathryn! Still waiting to see the first robin here, as we had a blizzard two days ago and, although warmer today and melting, there are literary mountains of snow here. XO

        • I must say, this year’s weather has been not only notably affected with the polar vortex, but decidedly *bi*-polar, swinging from one extreme to another with such frequency that we may all get whiplash! I guess at least you’ll have plenty of ice if you need to soothe your sore neck, eh! πŸ˜‰

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