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"Not Fluent In Bird Language"
by David Barger
2009-07-28 08:51:09
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Spring envelops the harshness of winter
Collecting its place among sprouting stems
Encouraging small flowers to take growth
Gently nudging twigs to open their buds,
And life begins with no remembrance
Of the season which preceded.
The air becomes dense with color,
And smell becomes richly increased by movement.
Mothers give birth
Passing on experienced knowledge to their young.
Memories start developing
Into what may be recalled by thought.

Robins had nested in an overgrown shrub
Outside our kitchen window,
And I watched the process
Of eggs being laid
Hatching with three tiny heads
In formation, mouths wide open,
And over the course of weeks
Feathers filling the pink nakedness of skin.
Then one afternoon,
Returning from town,
There on our fencepost
Sat a speckled white-chested robin
Sitting still with slight motion
Observing every move I made
Towards the gate.
The stillness unleashed by fear
Triggered from instinct
Neglected the robin into flying
Further to the inner belly of the surrounding fence.
I walked in its direction                                                                                 
Hoping to watch it fly from this opened cage,
But it gained only inches above the ground
Smacking headfirst into the wall of stained wood.
Returning with gloves at hand
I seen the mother robin alerted to my presence
Perched atop the high oak,
And I could hear desperation coming from
Her sharp chirps as her tail feathers
Bobbed without a single hesitation.

Summer quickens in rising temperatures
Leaving growth to run with all vegetation.
Crops gain height, and swell with image
And fruit for the next generation to proceed. 
Flowers and trees let loose their seeds
To passing winds which carry such offspring
Scattering them unto every field
And grassy slopes to be buried with hope for tomorrow.

I carefully scoped the little robin
Who was just learning to fly,
And continued to listen as its mother
Increased in vocals of warning.
I am not fluent in bird language,
So I could only show her my intentions
Carrying her chick to the empty nest.
The other two siblings had moved on
Leaving a few downy feathers
Upon the base of the shrub.
Walking away from this rescue
The mothers chirping stopped completely
Satisfied with my handling of this affair.  
The next morning the robin was gone
Leaving behind an empty worn out nest
Whose structure began to crumble
Falling into pieces collected between
Branches of shrub, and hardened ground.

Fall creeps in leaving the gate wide open
As temperatures decrease with each day.
Flowers lose their blooms
As each petal drifts towards a cumbersome ground.
Trees allow colored leaves to tumble                                                                                  
In the wind doing loop-de-loops
Until resting with hibernating strands of grass.
It’s a time to cope with the inevitable
Letting go with knowing what is to come;
With what must eventually happen
As all decay becoming earth once more.

My sons have never witnessed loss
Besides the occasional toy
Which can be replaced by another.
They have never felt the prelude of true loss,
Nor the aftermath of death.
Holding only to a memory of what once was.
Comforting oneself with an image,
A picture, a still frame, or playing a collage
Made of small reels of a moment long passed.
Causing a smile to forcibly show
Sprouting from among the layered grief.
They have never tasted despair
That follows when death has swallowed
A friend or a loved one,
As family and friends are both related
In the hallowed grave.
I have yet to comfort them in such matters
Speaking words that are God breathed
Taking away a portion of this painful sting
Replacing it with a promise, a sprinkle of trust
For what is set in the future yet to be seen.

Winter settles in making itself comfortable
Walking through the wide opened gate.
Blanketing the earth in white slumber
Lacing the winds in bitter cold
Decorating rooftops with icicles,
And lifeless nights are abandoned of sounds.
Winter rules the land with an iron thumb
Covering all color, except for the evergreens,
Which give us hope for the promise of a return
In knowing not all have died and fallen into unmovable sleep.

Every morning I sit under the shade
Of the umbrella on our deck,
And listen to the vibrant chirping echoing                                                                                
From the distant trees.
Enjoying the sounds bounce
From treetop to treetop
Where each bird sings in a new day.
I believe I can hear the little robin
Call out to me from the many voices
Being heard, and giving thanks
For helping it survive another day
With the kindness that was shown.

That would be a nice thought.   

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