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On the Ground

      Excitement in the normally peaceful yard caught Jennifer's attention. Birds were noisily chirping and zooming low to the ground. Dogs were barking at something. As if to answer her questions one of the children came running in the house.

       “Mama! Mama! A baby Robin fell out of its nest!  The dogs and cats are going to get it.”

        Jennifer dried her hands on the towel she  always kept handy. She was trying to think what to do.

       Looking out into the large yard which covered two lots the mother now knew she would have to go out to where the helpless little bird was in trouble. What she would do when she got there was any one's guess.

       It was a sad sight as the mother bird and other birds were trying their best to defend the little creature while zooming back and forth over it.

       As Jennifer walked out into the yard peace seemed to return. The cats took off in short order. Instead of the dogs running at the bird they were now coming up to her as if they were looking for someone to take control. The children's mother stood looking at the puffy little ball of feathers resting on the ground.  It had  all the detachment and trust a human baby would have had.

       Without hesitation she reached down and gently cuddled the little bird in the palms of her hands. The decision was made and she couldn't go back on it.

        A small box lined with newspaper made a proper nest for the bird even though it wasn't as snug up around it. The next problem she had was what to feed it. There was always a jar of wheat germ on the counter where it could be sprinkled on the children's food.  Mixing it with a bit of water into a thick gruel so that it would stick to a toothpick made it possible to get it into the birds mouth.  The thought worried her that maybe it would not eat in captivity but she needed  have worried about that. The minute the bird was approached its little mouth flew open in readiness for food. It didn't matter that the baby Robin had to be fed so often. She was usually always around the kitchen anyway. Cooking was something she was always doing. Even when she had her students come in for art lessons this was where she put them. The bird was just one more small chore to be done.

        Each day the small thing seemed to increase in size. Of course, the children were enthralled with the tiny living bit of a bird.

       “Please Mama!  Please let me feed it. One or the other of the children would beg.”

       There was another strange thing to happen.  A grown Robin spent most of its time on a branch outside the window where the little bird was. It was constantly watching and looking through the window into the room.

        “Do you suppose that is the little bird's mother?”  Jennifer called her husband's attention to the vigilant bird outside the window right over the box with the baby Robin in it.

        “I  think it is possible. Why else would any bird be interested in a small bird.”  Jennifer's husband agreed with her.

        Days went by rapidly and soon the Robin was hopping up on the edge of the box. The children were so thrilled to see it making progress.

        “When will it fly, Mama!”  They wanted to know.

         “I should think it will be soon. We will have to watch it when it does.”  Jennifer instructed the children.  “It will want to return to the wild as birds normally do.”

       Sure enough, one day the bird zoomed across the room to land at the top of the curtain on the window. Jennifer stepped to the door and opened it all the way.  When the baby Robin came back across the room it sped through the open door and off into the wide spaces outside the house.

        The oddest thing about the whole incident was that for years, every year, a Robin would come to the same branch where the Mother bird had first watched her baby being fed. Of course, it couldn't have been the same bird.  It had to be generations of descendants. How strange this was to Jennifer.  Later when she and her family moved out of the house her parents moved into the smaller space which was all they now needed.

        “Did you know a Robin comes to the window and looks in here?”  Jennifer's Dad asked her.

        “Yes, I know.  They did that when we lived here too. I've always wondered if it had something to do with that baby bird we raised.”

        “Nature is a strange and wonderful thing.”  Jennifer's Dad was in reality so pleased to have saved one small thing and then to be rewarded every year by the Robins who made their appearance outside the same window.

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