She keeps a low profile. It is as if she is drained of color, muted, a faded shy brown. Were it not for the discovery of her ethereal, sky-blue creation, would I have noticed her at all?
I slip out to the garden at sunrise this early June day, as nothing tastes as sweet as morning-picked blueberries. To my surprise mom robin, the early bird, has beaten me here. She is trapped inside the blueberry bush netting, feathers ruffled, wings wet with dew. How long has she been a prisoner? We study each other for a moment, eye to eye, less than an arm's length away. Captive to captor, captured to capturer. I imagine her terror reflected back to her twice from the black mirrors of my pupils.
I gently lift the netting from the bottom up and she flutters, reaches for a space she doesn’t have, an emptiness of air that is no longer there.I hear her wet-feathered wings scraping the confines. I feel her panic. Her desire to return to normal.
It was the lure of the blueberry that brought her here. Too much for her to overlook. How did she manage to get inside, I wonder? It must have been from the bottom up.
The netting is black and fine, invisible to any bird’s eye. This is the first year we have had the need to net the bush. We will replace it with white.
Just as the netting is rolled up to the top, she flutters once and neatly slips out. Beak first, just beneath the wrinkle of the patterned weave, she is free to ascend to the highest branch of the oak.
In the afternoon I observe her on the shady lawn plucking worms from the moist soil near the garden hose. Everything described about her so far is even more evoked in the brightness of this absorbing task. She forages, gathers, then returns to the nest. In the 40 minutes I spend watching she makes the trip 8-10 times.
The human in me imagines her longing to taste the sweet blueberry fruit. So I make her an offering. A dozen blueberries on a plate, and a few more scattered along the ground.
When the breeze is still for a moment, I believe I can hear the baby birds calling for her to come home.
Mom robin finally finds the plate. To my delight, I watch as she swallows the blueberries down.