Saturday, June 18, 2011

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I took Violet for a walk in the woods today. I made a point of not bringing the camera because I didn’t want to spend time looking for moments to capture; I just wanted to spend time in the woods with Violet. I showed her the odd leaves of the mulberry tree. We watched dragonflies landing, taking off, and flying all around us. I pointed out a striking purple flower whose name I couldn’t recall. We sat and looked at a beaver pond, and, just before I planned to turn around and head back, we passed by a massive wild rose bush and a heard a robin within, only a few inches away from us, letting loose with a loud chip call and fluttering roughly through the brush. Robins usually don’t wait for you to get that close before taking off, so I figured she must have a nest inside the bush. I cautiously moved aside a few outer branches, trying my best to avoid the thorns, and was rewarded with a view of the nest, a foot or so inside. I carefully snaked my hand over and under the branches and felt inside the nest, and what I felt was life – downy, small, and warm. Although I know it’s a myth that a mother bird won’t take back a baby bird that’s been handled (most birds lack any significant sense of smell, so a robin wouldn’t know you’d handled her young even if you rolled one around in your armpit and put it back), I know that myth exists for a reason – it’s to keep people from bothering baby birds, but I couldn’t resist - I had to show Violet. I gingerly extracted one of the young and held it in my palm where she could see it. The chick’s bulbous eyes weren’t open yet, and only a few tufts of down clung to its orange translucent skin. Violet reached out to touch, but I kept my hand out of her reach. I regretted not bringing the camera, at least for a moment or two, before I told myself just to enjoy the moment, to appreciate how fortunate I was to be in such a beautiful spot with my daughter, to stumble on this small moment with her. I didn’t have to take a picture. I could just remember it, and it would be all the more special because there would be no photo, just a memory.  And then I thought, “Screw it. I want Linda to see this, too. If we go home, get her, and bring her back here, then we can get a picture, too.” So, we went and got Linda. But the picture we took didn’t come out.

209 days old

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