A Friend Passes Away

July 7, 2010

Austin came for dinner last night, which meant a zucchini from the garden sliced and sauteed with onion. I was also hoping for a handful of green beans and emerged from the garden with a full colander; everyone had green beans and plenty of them. There is now an insurmountable problem in the garden. When I built the panels and hooked them together, they were meant to be removed for harvesting. Well, with the watermelon now tightly enmeshed and one melon growing through the wire, I cannot move the panels without destroying the plants. So I must bend and reach and stretch to grab those beans. Another thing to know for next year – keep the vines off the fence.

In the evening, I took a moment to sit the hammock and relax. As I soaked it all it, I saw my robin nestled in the grass. I smiled to myself, and then stopped short.

He wasn’t moving and there were bugs buzzing around him. Oh no.

I picked up a shovel and gently nudged him onto the blade. Then I placed him on the berm, under the hosta leaves. There was nothing mangled, no obvious trauma to his poor little self, so I wonder if he wasn’t quite right all along. West Nile? Old age? Maybe those white spots were old feathers and not fledgling. (While the average life expectancy is about 2 years, if they are clever and resourceful, they could live into their teens.) He was never a strong flyer, preferring to stay low and stay near to the home he adopted – my garden and pond.

It made me sad as I really felt a bond with this silly little bird. I stood in the middle of the patio and sighed. Eliza looked out of the backdoor and I told her what I’d found. She tilted her head in sympathy and hugged me, with gentle mom-like pats on my back.

This morning, I walked around hoping I was mistaken, hoping my robin was still around and this one was an errant fellow who just happened to croak in my backyard. But no robin with white spots hopped out of the bushes, no robin swooped around the veggie garden, no robin drinking at the waterfall.

My friend has passed away and a little bit of the joy of this summer has gone too.

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