The First Robin

Early winter mornings, my old dog Ellie and I walk the intracoastal boardwalk and through the forest trail that is Betty Steflik Memorial Reserve, in Flagler Beach, Florida. (Thanks Betty for this natural preserved beauty  … we are grateful).  This morning there were hundreds of robins with us, gliding along in front of us, filling the bushes with song.

The first time I encountered the migrating robins a couple of years ago, I was walking by the ocean and suddenly a dark cloud came over head.   It startled me, felt like a storm cloud was about to descend upon me.  Suddenly the whole street was filled with thousands of robins … on the lawns, along the picket fences, one every branch in every tree.  It was the most magical natural thing I have ever seen.   I stood completely still for the longest time.  Never had I been surrounded by thousands of robins.

Today as I walked along the morning trail, watching the robins and the robins watching me, I wondered if one of these robins could be the very one that nests in our yard every summer.  Did they recognize me?   I wonder.

And then suddenly, one morning you wake up and it takes you a moment to realize that the robins are gone.  Back on their migratory path … ready to amaze some one else when they rest  in the next northern town of their choice.  And I know in the spring there will be friends in Canada, who excitedly exclaim to each other,  “I saw my first robin today … you know what that means … it means it’s finally spring!”