Thursday 3 December 2015

On December, 3rd

Victorian robin

On December, 3rd, comes Mr Robin.

You know Mr Robin, Red Robin. You have been introduced to each other this spring when he was fighting the blue and black tits. It has not changed. Mr Robin still stands sentinel on guard on the balcony of the kitchen.

Mr Robin is a very little thing who puffes himself in such a way that he doubles his size when he wants to impress enemies or unknown persons. He becomes a ball of feathers then, and his beak shoots up from such softness, hard as a shard or as the thorn of an uncivilised rose tree. Two bright brown eyes dart from the small flurry ball and defy the world. "Here is my territory: don't you dare risk a feather, a paw, or a leg on this balcony. This is mine. All mine."

Mr Robin twitters and talks. He gives long shrill speeches to all and sundry. The sparrows keep well far away. The blackbirds have disappeared as well as the collar doves and the thrushes. The blue and black tits collude and seek the best strategy and the best tactics to approach the balcony and its goodies. Still, Mr Robin talks.

Sophie Harding: "Pink Cottage and Robin"

On the balcony, there is a little plate with crumbs and fat and the left-overs from lunch or dinner that can be edible for birds. There is a cup with water. And on the wisteria, that grows like a tree near the kitchen, there are those balls of fat and grains that are sold in the supermarkets or the jardineries, the trees and flowers nurseries. "All this", announces Mr Robin with his shrillest voice, "all this belongs to me."

Long discussions have been held in the kitchen by generations of children and adults about Mr Robin. He lives in the nearest golden fir tree and keeps an eye on the yew tree nearby where some of his potential opponents have made their home. But it cannot be the same Mr Robin that has lived throughout generations. Therefore, when and how do we know that this is a new Mr Robin? It seems we shall never know. And Mr Robin will be Mr Robin for ever and ever.

Mr Robin - not as kind and sweet as the robin on the Advent calendar when we opened the window this morning. This robin does not move, twitter and tweak, does not fight with other birds. But it is night now outside. We have closed the shutters and drawn the curtains. We have put on the light behind the Advent calendar and we see the sweet robin while our Mr Robin is fast asleep in his fir tree. One robin for day light and one robin for night light: aren't we lucky?

Eric Ravilious: pattern with robin for crockery

"The Truth From Above" by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Sung by The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, 1995.

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