Red red robin

American robin (turdus migratorius).

I woke up this morning to brilliant sun, a gift from the angels who look out on the Left Edge. It had been raining for days, a cold, piercing, rain, the kind that leaks into your collar, sending cold rivulets down your neck. Luckily my hair is long enough to function as a cloak or cowl; still, it’s unpleasant getting drenched. So the gift of morning sun was extra glorious — until I noticed the bird poop.

A great robin red breast has been visiting of late. By “great” I mean large. This big boy has taken up residence in my front yard. I like robins. They’re cheerful as can be, and the sight of that great red breast staring in my front window is heartening. The robin prefers to perch on a branch of one of our two apple trees. As I’m working at my desk, I feel his beady bird eyes on me.

When I was a child, my parents forced me to take piano lessons. I wasn’t very good. The teacher was a lady named Mrs. Mehich who lived on our street. She had three pianos in her house and a Siamese cat named Mu Chi Chi Chi Meow Meow Meow who hunted birds. One day he got a robin. Mrs. Mechich, who bore more than a passing resemblance to a crane or a flamingo herself, swooped in before he killed it, and for some weeks nursed it back to health. She kept it in a cage in the same room she gave piano lessons. It was an imperious, proud thing, but she acted like it was a pet.

When we first moved to this area, I soon learned how obsessed people are with their windows which must be sparkly and smear free. I remarked on this fixation to our landlord, Grant, when we were renting in Gearhart. He built that house and also a house in Cannon Beach. He seemed confused. “People don’t clean their windows in New York?” he asked.

Writing this, I’m thinking my day will be marred if I don’t get busy with the Windex and some newspaper and get rid of the bird excrement. I wonder if it’s my pet robin that did this, and if this is his way of telling me my yard belongs to him.


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