The Overlooked Robin

It’s easy to overlook what’s always around. Take the robin, for example. The American robin is ubiquitous. Once a welcome sign heralding spring’s arrival, now we see it year round in coastal Maine. We seldom focus on it as we seek a fleeting glance of more exotic birds–orioles, tanagers, warblers, etc. But take a look — notice that rich, ruddy breast, the white lined eyes, the streaked throat. Listen to its song! Robins truly are beautiful birds!

Yesterday morning, as I wandered by the riverside park, I saw a robin hopping along the ground. I lingered and watched for a while. (One of the joys of summer is having time to linger and time to notice.) Every so often it stopped and cocked its head toward the ground. It seemed to be listening! Each time it would turn its head, pause, then straighten up, peck at the ground or move along. It was fascinating!

A dim memory stirred. Did I remember reading that robins can actually hear the earthworms stirring underground? Later, a quick google search confirmed it. Robins use sight and hearing to find worms and can actually find worms solely by listening when needed. I also read that robins can eat up to 14 feet of earthworms in a day! Yikes! Now all I can think about is slurping spaghetti.


Each evening, after work, I wander through my gardens, bathing in the vibrant green air, inhaling the overlaying scents, colors, textures. Letting go of the day. Marveling at how much changes in a day.

Late May brings the drowsy soft heads of poppies. Those overlarge buds, so deceptively shy and sleepy enchant me. Buds of clustered anticipation.

Slowly, the slightest hint of crimson emerges–a tantalizing glimpse amidst the green. A tender promise.

Then suddenly, almost overnight, there’s a brazen crowd of blowsy blossoms shaking their crumpled petals in the breeze. A chorus line of Parisian show girls–long stalks of bare legs and colorful petticoats flying.

I’m forever startled by this transformation from demure to brazen. Forever grateful.

Bedazzled by poppies.

SOLC Day 1: Getting Untangled

March 2021 SOLC–Day 1
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

I woke feeling stressed yesterday. At 5 am, tendrils of anxiety were already wrapping about me. Tightening. I thought about it. What was wrong? Why was I feeling this way? I mean everyone is feeling a bit overwhelmed in general. My slice of that anxiety pie isn’t really greater than anyone else’s. So, what was up?

I had big plans for the day. Last weekend I’d discovered that the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine was open. Immediately, I’d decided to plan an excursion. A museum visit! Something to look forward to! We could combine it with a walk out on the Rockland Breakwater and maybe even pick up take out from a local restaurant. It would be an almost normal day. Brilliant, I’d thought! And all week long I’d looked forward to it.

Until yesterday. When I woke up feeling stressed, knowing that I would be gone for most of the day. Knowing that meant my “To Do” list would be mostly undone– at least until much later in the day. And knowing that list was already miles too long. How could I justify spending most of the day out and about? My brain was in such a tangle that the treat I’d planned and anticipated was now feeling like a burden.

I tried writing about it to clear my head. I practiced some positive self-talk. I considered prioritizing the things I needed to do and planning which one or two I could complete before departing. That would make me feel better, right?

Then, I caught a glimpse of a pink glowing sky out the front windows. I peeked out and sure enough, the sky was gently ablaze. So, I put aside my plans, lists and prioritizing and I drove down to the river. It wasn’t so much a conscious decision as an instinct. As soon as I turned the corner on Main Street and saw the silhouettes against the glowing sky, I felt my heart lift. Those tendrils loosened their grip.

Being outside at the start of the day, or anytime really, always puts things into perspective for me. How many times do I have to learn that?

I didn’t stay too long. Just long enough to watch a sherbet sky brighten over the bay. To watch mergansers fish for their breakfast. To watch the tree reflections ripple and whirl with the incoming tide. To let go.

By the time I got back home, I felt better. Less stressed. Relatively untangled. And definitely ready to enjoy the big plans of the day.