Working hard

4 06 2009

I unexpectedly had a moment before I left for the bus this morning.

I stopped to watch a robin working his way through the uncut part of the lawn. The tops of the unopened dandelion buds are just over his head. He moves with an eye cocked, rushing forward from time to time to snatch at something I cannot see. The sun is already pretty high when I’m heading out. (It was pretty far up when I woke up – the days are long!) He works all day long – sometimes I resent having to work, as though leisure was the natural state. I’m looking forward to a couple of weeks off soon, but when does he get time off? Sometimes animals do get leisure – often from human’s labor. Birds and baboons freed from having to work focus on social status (and, for baboons, grooming, which is all tied up with social status). Hmmm.

Written while taking a moment before giving a talk to a room full of strangers.

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I, paparazzi.

14 05 2009

I went out after dinner to cut down a pair of fallen-down out-of-control ugly ornamental trees that are chocking the yard on one side of the driveway. Defintely the wrong plants in the wrong place. I got the chainsaw started (yay — sometimes this is hard after it’s been away for a while), but needed to lop some branches to get close enough to the trunk. I’m snipping away and what do I see? A big nest tucked away in the branches and, holding herself as still as can be — but with a careful eye on me — a momma robin sitting on her eggs. I’m close enough to reach out and touch her (of course I don’t) but she is as still as the dead. She’s pressed down into the nest, her head arched up and her tail tufting up the other side. Did I mention she was motionless? In fact, I’d expect a dead bird to show more signs of life (false though they might be) than this bird does.

I run and get the camera, but pointing that big eye of a lens at her freaks her out and she swiftly wings away, only to return and squawk desperately and flutter about the branches on the other side of the tree when I maneuver closer to the nest. So I quickly snap this paparazzi shot of the eggs and run off so she can get back to brooding.
robin's eggs

After that, I take a bunch of pictures of the clouds and the sunset and the forest in the growing gloom.