The Robin Tree - FamilyEducation

The Robin Tree

February 09,2009
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

This past weekend was perfect--beautiful, cloudless blue skies and temperatures in the 60s all weekend long. On Friday, as Scott and I flopped, semi-comatose, on the couch, trying valiantly to stay up later than usual (because it was, after all, Friday), we decided that we'd set Saturday aside as a day of no worrying about things we can't change, no talking about where to send T. for kindergarten, no thinking about health insurance benefits (or lack thereof) for this and that, or workload woes. We would just enjoy the day--Saturday in all its unassuming perfection, a day for setting the house in order and enjoying the predicted preview of spring. When I woke up and headed downstairs on Saturday to brew a pot of coffee, I looked out the kitchen window and saw, literally, dozens of robins in the huge holly bush closest to the kitchen. I don't know where they came from, but they were there, in droves, rising and falling around the holly leaves the way bees do around flowers in the summertime. I'm pretty sure robins winter in North Carolina (do they?), but I never really see them in the winter, and I hadn't seen them in our yard before Saturday, and certainly never by the dozen. Mr. RobinCan you spot the robin? Imagine over a dozen instead of that one, and you can also imagine what a sight it was! And more!And another When T. came downstairs, I showed her the robins and she dubbed that holly bush "the robin tree." I have no doubt that we'll call it that from here on out. We spent the morning talking about robins, the coming of spring and yes, even, what we'll do when the pool opens in May (we got a little carried away). I remembered, too, that I had once read a series of "robin" poems by Emily Dickinson and loved them, so I did some Googling and found one of them--one of my favorites, as it turned out: The Robin is the One That interrupt the Morn With hurried — few — express Reports When March is scarcely on – The Robin is the One That overflow the Noon With her cherubic quantity – An April but begun – The Robin is the One That speechless from her Nest Submit that Home — and Certainty And Sanctity, are best It seemed so fitting, somehow, to have discovered those dozens of birds right outside our window, and to think about them along with the last three lines of a forgotten, but favorite poem, on a day we spent cleaning house, baking, reading in the hammock, and reminding ourselves that no matter how rocky and chaotic the days get during the week, the weekend is a time to come back together--to remind ourselves that everything that is the most sacred and important and certain is right where it was all along: at Home. ************** T. and I also baked an amazing cake this weekend (because apparently I can't let a weekend pass without embarking on some baking/cooking project): a Greek walnut cake in, of all things, the crock pot! I was all set to tack the recipe and photos onto this post, because while it was baking it made the whole house smell intoxicatingly of toasted walnuts and cinnamon and nutmeg, and this mixed perfectly with the spring breeze coming through the open kitchen window and the bubbling song** of the robins in the holly tree outside. But the recipe with the attached photos would have made today's post way too lengthy. Check back tomorrow! **If the robins haven't made their way to your backyard yet, or you are buried under snow and ice and are just aching to hear some songs of spring, visit here--my kids loved this site.