Walking across campus this past sunny Sunday afternoon, John and I encountered a flock of about two dozen robins, feasting on the crabapples near the Rec-Fitness Building. They were all a-flutter, hopping around on the melting snow, keeping a safe distance from passersby, and constantly moving from ground to tree branch and then back down to join the flock on the ground.
I grew up thinking of robins as the traditional sign of spring, but I've learned that the robin's winter range extends from the Gulf coat into Michigan. We don't notice them as much in winter, unless we come across a flock like this, because they don't come to bird feeders. They prefer wintered-over fruit, like bitter crabapples that have mellowed with the freezing and thawing.
The summer robins from this area are most likely further south right now, while the ones we saw Sunday spent their summer further north. Who knows -- maybe this is the same flock that we saw feasting on mountain ash berries at the Glick cabin near Edmonton last September, getting ready for their flight south.
"Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"
I've taken on a prayer practice of looking for the moments of light in each day, whether actual or metaphorical, and then writing or posting photos of what I find.