I have an amazing friend, one whose bio I’ll soon provide but omit at present for brevity’s sake.
His name is Dr. Robert Snyder but he goes by “Flute.” Flute is an older gentleman with a young heart despite a number of setbacks that would have broken lesser humans: loss of any eye, Cancer, loss of the ability to process traditional food, placement of a feeding tube, (his sole source of nutrition) and a severe stroke suffered by his wife, Ann, who he lovingly nursed back to health. Flute has many gifts among which is an amazing intellect and a gentle soul.
Flute and Ann are inseparable. He runs a mower repair service and she’s a graphic artist. His doctorate is in “Woodwinds” They live in a scenic, historic river town in the northern Midwest. Flute publishes an essay every Friday, typically a thematic, analytic or observational piece that examines his fascinating life and the peculiarities life presents. I wish he lived next door.
This essay broke with tradition in that it came yesterday. I find it touching and Flute gave me permission to publish it here.
Mrs. “Bob Bob Robin” – by Dr. “Flute” Snyder
Mrs. Bob Bob Robin found a nesting site about five feet outside Ann’s bathroom window. Ann watched as the nest grew on a level branch. Since Mister Robin looked so similar to Mrs. R., it was hard to tell which was which. Soon, Mrs. BB Robin settled down on the nest, mostly facing westerly into the heart of the tree, but clearly visible: maybe too visible.
We wondered what she thought about while covering her precious eggs. Was she pondering the weather? The wind? Future conversations with her babes? Maybe even considering flying south at the hint of cold weather? We speculated on her state of mind as she protected those blue beauties.
What do nesting robins think about anyway? Some of the 14 days on the roost blew up cold. We wondered how often she could venture out for meals, or even where she could find some worms stupid enough to come to the surface. We had a couple of nights when the temperatures fell into the thirties!
We also discussed the matter of how long the egg-babies would stay warm if Mama Robin wasn’t poised securely over them. When she left the nest, why wasn’t dear daddy right there to take over? So many imponderables. And then a couple of days ago, Ann announced that mom and pop seemed to be facing down into the nest to apparently feed the babes. Do the little ones take solid food immediately? Must the parents partially digest the wormlies and then spit up the warm puree into the baby’s waiting mouth? We couldn’t see down into the nest from our window. Would we see the growing bodies before they left the nest?
And then, yesterday, activity at the nest seemed to cease. Had the little ones grown big enough to fly away? It seemed very unlikely. We don’t know how long mother robin could have covered them after they hatched. It’s too bad robin red breasts don’t have real breasts for the robinettes to suckle. It would make feeding them so much easier.
So, today, Ann took a mirror out to the nest so, holding the mirror high in the air, she could peer into the glass and see what was in the nest. Nothing was in the nest. Ann reported, straight-faced, that she searched the WEB for information about the dangers facing baby birds: snakes, vandal-birds, cats, and other predators. Too many threats to name.
It makes you wonder how birds-in-nests ever succeed in bringing a family to term. Mid-evening, Ann sat sadly at her sewing machine trying to fabricate a blouse. A soft red blouse. Then, as I passed the table, I viewed Ann’s reddening face. I think she had decided no baby robins survived. She turned off the machine’s light and left the room, weeping quietly.