Few sights are as cheering to winter-weary hearts than spotting a red-breasted robin in the garden. They are welcome visitors who cannot help but make us smile because of their lively hue and perky hopping.
In the English countryside, robins feature heavily in our sightings for large parts of the year. They’ve also inspired today’s poem, which was prompted by thoughts of my daughter-in-law.
She’s a keen gardener who often finds solace (and a necessary distraction from her busy business life) when she’s outside, getting her hands dirty with tasks. Being in touch with living plants helps shift vestiges of SAD-induced sadness in her heart.
Water-logged and rimed with frost,
sodden leaves get trodden underfoot
as she makes her way across
the uneven garden path.
Her heart sinks as low as her boots
as she contemplates the work
before her—clearing cluttered ground,
preparing for winter to fully come.
As her spade sinks in, she glances
up and sees a robin hopping
around, close by but no longer
shy or uncertain, more a bold thing.
She smiles at her avian
companion, who had graced
the garden in summertime
with brief glimpses now and then.
No longer intent on nest building
or family, she hops contentedly,
pausing to check on her human
friend who she converses with.
Maybe this is no coincidence
in these colder months, with their
depressing, darkening days and drizzle,
that she would appear by chance.
Perhaps there’s hidden symbolism
here, as her furry friend is known
to signal spiritual rebirth,
the new, divine, and the next.
Work stops for now as her mind
follows that thought, making space
for a sign from God to lift her
heart in these chilly wintry months.
We each try to find a way to help alleviate the darkness that can inhabit our hearts. Sometimes, just reading about nature helps. I’m dipping into ‘The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us – A Diary’ by Emma Mitchell and finding it comforting.
I know I feel so much better when I can get outside, even briefly, and surround myself with nature’s natural sedative, calming effects, instead of sitting indoors brooding about my problems.
Also, looking out the window or watching nature programmes is enough to temporarily plug the “craving to be outside” gap which M.E and chronic illness tend to leave in their wake.
While many of us in the northern hemisphere struggle with wintry ills and chills, may we aim to encourage ourselves with remembrance of God’s faithfulness to us in the past. Let’s keep signs of spring and flames of hope alive in our hearts. Because that’s how we survive and thrive during hard times.
May listening to this robin singing help make you smile, and give you hope that winter’s grip on your environment or mind will ease soon. 🙂
How have you experienced nature’s calming or healing effects? Do share in the comments below... ❤