Some years ago, a pair of robins set up housekeeping in a shrub conveniently located just outside our bedroom window. By dint of climbing atop a rather shaky chest-of-drawers we were able to watch as, over the ensuing days, they flew industriously back and forth with bits of nesting material, busily constructing what our local realtor would have described as a highly desirable residence. (Some of today’s houses should be built so well!)
But try as I might I could never seem to get a good enough shot of the proceedings; the branches always got in the way and, because this was in pre-digital camera days, it wasn’t until after it was too late to retake the pictures that I discovered, upon getting my prints back from the pharmacy, that my efforts had met with little or no success.
Meanwhile, the babies emerged from their delicate, blue eggs, ugly and featherless, immediately demanding to be fed while both parents tirelessly kept up a supply chain of worms and other delicacies for those hungry, gaping beaks that was nothing short of amazing.
Thanks to their heroic efforts, three skinny, defenseless young robins quickly developed into cocky, self-opinionated adolescents and it wasn’t long before we witnessed their first attempts at flight. Eventually the day dawned when, looking from our vantage point on top the chest, we experienced, literally, that empty-nest feeling, when we realized that the ‘kids’ had grown up and left home.
I wonder how those parents felt? Were they relieved; another brood brought safely to adulthood? Or were they a little sad to see their fledglings moving on? I doubt it on both counts. In nature, life goes on. In our case, however, we experienced all those feelings but, unlike the robins, our ‘babies’ return every once in a while, sometimes with ruffled feathers, still demanding to be fed.