It is one of those piercingly cold mornings. The children were feeling it. They wanted to take the car to school. The sun was out though and I convinced them that we don’t get much time to spend outdoors at this time of year, so we have to walk. The girl isn’t happy and the boy is waving his dinosaur mittens around catching frosty sunbeams. We are at risk of being late, we’ve returned to the house twice; once for a lunchbox and another for the wrong trainers.
We kick through the multicoloured leaves and the girl becomes more enthusiastic. “Let’s run!” She declares ..so we run and walk, walk and run, the icey air hitting our lungs, in a way that’s strangely delightful. Breathtaking infact. They are laughing because I never run!
As we hit the walk phase of our new game the girl stops. “LOOK!! … A Robin!”
And there he was, just a foot or so away.
We all stopped. He commanded our attention. Cocking his head and his dark eye twinkling. “Quietly” I remark “We don’t want to scare him”. But this fellow wasn’t easily scared. Infact he courted his audience even enabling us to photograph him. While he drew us in, making us perilously close to missing the school bell, he continued to chat to my small girl, occasionally glancing at me and mitten boy. Robin had a lot to say but after a few minutes he doffed his cap, said good day and hopped into the thicket.
Now, a family member had passed just a day ago and this seemed timely but my little ones father died also when she was a baby and as happens so have many others, so I said to the children “Well wasn’t that strange, how you spotted him and how curious how long Mr Robin stayed for when we were hurrying along”. I told them how some people believed that Robins brought messages from our loved ones in Heaven and we all wondered who it could be.
Of course, he was talking so clearly to this seven year old girl and while politely acknowledging the rest of the company, made it no secret who he was really interested in. “Who do you think the message is from?” I enquire “From my daddy” she says proudly “When you get a printer can you print the photo and I can show it at school”. … “of course Yes! Oh yes school, quickly” and we continue with our run.
By some small miracle we arrive in good time and say our goodbyes.
And while the day had barely started and the temperature had hardly increased, my walk home was somewhat warmer and my heart was so much fuller, reminding me that everyday there’s an opportunity to see life with hope and joy even at the oddest times.