Nature has everything to teach us if we are willing to be still and spend time being with her. A few weeks ago a robin chose to build her nest under the portico that offers shelter above our front door. It was a good place–protected from the elements and other critters, like the neighbor’s cat. For days, the robin named Isabelle by my husband, scattered building material all over the front porch and we watched through the window as she carried one strand at a time to the small ledge. It seemed an impossible task, but one day we looked outside and there was the perfect, most beautiful nest ever.
Isabelle spent days sitting on the nest and a little research revealed that robins gorge themselves on worms and grubs in the morning and the lay one egg in the afternoon. They do this until they have the desired size of family, I guess. The eggs hatch 12 to 14 days after the last egg is laid. A patient mother, Isabelle sat on the nest day and night and we avoided using the front door so as not to disturb her. Whether it’s a human or a robin, impending motherhood does make a woman beautiful and Isabelle had a special glow about her.
Here is the surprise: Isabelle’s husband, whom I name Igor—brought worms and fed Isabelle as she sat on the nest. Sometimes Isabelle just needed to stretch her wings, and Igor would perch on the nest guarding the eggs. Before this miracle unfolded above my front porch, I never would have described a robin as “macho,” but Igor is a macho guy. When guarding the nest he had that “don’t mess with me or my family” look to him, a puffed up chest to emphasize the message.
It was touching to watch how he protected his family, gave his wife a much-needed break and brought food to her. A few days ago the eggs hatched. At first we couldn’t see the babies, but we saw that both Isabelle and Igor brought food and were feeding something in the nest. Then one morning we saw two bald heads with mouths open wide accepting food from mom. I am still not sure if there are two or three babies, but I imagine that we will find out as they grow.
Isabelle and Igor got me thinking about my marriage. My husband isn’t what I would call much of a romantic, but like Igor, he brings me food, never fails to ask if I need or want anything when he leaves the house. He holds my hand when we are watching movies and he keeps an eye on the oil levels in my car. I know that he would protect me with his life and he encourages me to stretch my wings. He would make Igor proud. It’s a practical and mature love that has an organic sweetness to it that far exceeds a dozen roses.
Nature can teach us a lot about how to live a balanced and happy life. Having Isabelle and Igor show us how it’s done, helps me observe the natural world with a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity. Sometimes, well most times, humans think we are the be all end all; that we know everything and that we are a superior life form. I don’t think so. I think we have more to learn from the natural world than we realize. In fact, it may be our salvation.
- Life wins. (So far.) (jessicavealitzek.com)
- Building my nest at ABS (macysarbacker.com)
- Three bald eagle chicks hatched in Wales for the first time (walesonline.co.uk)
- Bird Nest Watching (crackerberries.wordpress.com)