A friend of mine is waiting for purple martins to return with spring. She has readied the bird houses on the ridge. I enjoy her expectancy. It’s nice to be expected. I was telling my daughter about this on a walk through the woods yesterday as we heard the first robins of our spring sing around us.
As I was telling my daughter about the martins, and listening to the robins, a distinct memory from when I was in first grade flew up in front of me. Mrs. Maker assigned a purple-lined ditto page of a bird each week. We learned bird names, colored the bird as realistically as we could, heard calls from records, and learned a little bit about why the bird lived in our neck-of-the-woods.
One day as my school bus rolled over the railroad tracks toward home, I spied a red-winged blackbird in the marsh along the tracks. I gasped with six-year-old excitement. It was there just for me to see. I knew that bird's name and watched it as long as I could through the windows.
Such an unexpected memory affixing itself to my friend waiting for purple martins and my daughter chattering about a boy in school, robins newly arrived home, thrilled me. Filled me.
My joy was not the kind to interrupt my daughter’s lament over a boy that doesn’t know her name (I’ll bet he’s a bit of a blue jay anyway). It was a memory for savoring, like a peppermint. After it's gone and the memory of sweet lingers.
But, I thought I’d tell you.
I wish you birdsong today.
|Red Wing Blackbird