Happiness is a rusty robin! A little magic happened this morning when I opened the front door to the full force of Storm Francis prowling around the place.
A small lady, attached by fluorescent yellow leash to a small Jack Russell dog, bent double into the wind as she walked by my house. She tugged the hood of her jacket tightly around her head and rain lashed at her glasses. I smiled and said hello, expecting that she could barely see or hear me. She returned the greeting and, keeping firm hold of the hood, battled on through the blast. Then she halted.
‘Excuse me’ she said, turning to walk back. ‘I just want you know how much I love walking past your garden. I know it’s only small, but the way you move things around every so often makes me so happy. I love looking for them every time I walk past here with my dog.’
She reached down to raise the brown, black and white hound high. ‘This is Abbie, she’s old and she’s a rescue. Anyway’ she continued, lowering Abbie tenderly to the ground, ‘I want you to know how much pleasure it gives me, and how I notice all of it, the hare, the elephant, the stag and especially the robin. Especially the robin! I like your robin so much that I went bought one for myself. He’s not quite the same as yours though.’
I was completely overwhelmed by this unexpected and lovely insight. I do love to create magic in my garden. The rusty robin has been a friend for many years. Occasionally a strong gust picks him up and flings him to the ground. I’ve always taken this as a sign to shift him to a new perch for a while. I had no idea that passers-by noticed these moves. But clearly they do, and today I have two new friends, Abbie and Hils!
Robins are associated with hope for the future and this verse by Emily Dickinson springs to mind.
‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.