This is the first post from my new contributor, daughter Lily, who is an occasional collabortator in our studio also.
Once upon a time…
I went home for thanksgiving with Colin, recently back from China eager to revisit the Morris Estate and shmooze with my fascinating parents.
As is customary for visits home, especially those with guests, and even more so when the first fat snowflakes of true winter are falling, we took a walk around the path.
At the edge of the dense wood, before breaking into the old pasture, I yelpled in surprise at the sight of a creature very close a foot.
It was a robin. Robins, as a whole have long left this land for the more sustainable south, yet this one remained. As I walked forward, it became clear why this little bird lingered in the cold: it was Broken Wing Robin.
Broken Wing Robin graced our land all summer, flopping laboriously down the driveway after his friends had flown from auto traffic, rustling about in the undergrowth in futile attempts at camouflage, and presenting a generally sorrowful existence. The fact that Broken Wing survived this far without already being caught by the laziest of predators was astonishing.
I did not wish to upset Broken Wing, and I especially did not want to alert our hounds, Bug and Peanut of his helpless presence… But I had to move forward. When I did, Broken Wing made a flopping attempt at flight, simultaneously awakening the “destroy vermin” instinct in our lackadaisical house pets.
It was the end of the road for Broken Wing. My urgent calls could not stop Peanut’s jaws. After the initial strike, even though life still coursed through his delicate body, the ethical thing to do was let the dogs commit the final blow, and release Broken Wing from the suffering of this life.
I brought his Earthly shell back to the house, and did my best to honor his life by studying the intricacies of his body, interring him forever in my sketchbook.
This is the story of Broken Wing Robin.
The first to arrive in the spring, the last left singing at night.
Symbols of new life, new beginnings, new growth.
Dead at winter’s first snow.