I love the robin in my garden. He is noisy, cheery, and friendly. He tortures our Jack Russell. Sitting on the wall he chirps and sings and hops lower and lower until the dog can’t help himself to chase him and then he flies off signing. You can almost hear him laughing. And he is fierce nosey. He sits on the handle of my back door looking in the window to see what we are cooking. It always seems to be when I am making pancakes that he makes himself most visible. 

Because I have been at home since September I have seen him a lot more. He sings first thing in the morning while it is still dark. It is like he is saying, “yeah its dark but its alright the light is coming”.

I know lots of people put something more meaningful with robins. Especially when a loved one passes and a robin appears. And they get great solace for it.
We lived in Toome for a number of years and during that time there was a year when both my parents died and we lost a baby. I was at home a fair bit that year. For the whole time I was home the robin who lived in my garden came to chat every day. He sat on the window sill and while I washed the dishes I talked to him. I was very sad and finding life difficult and the understanding robin would keep looking in. And when I bored him he flew off. 
The following year we had another baby. I was in hospital and ill for a little while after she was born. The robin sat on the patio steps every day waiting. When I was downstairs at last I had the baby in a bouncy chair and the robin sat waiting until I showed her to him. And then he sang a song.

A couple of years later we got a Jack Russell called Tara from Ballymurphy. She was meant to be a guard dog. But she was soft as butter. The robin was in an accident around the same time and lost part of one of his feet. Normally when I fed the birds our robin was the first down and the last to leave pushing and jostling. After his accident he was the last to get to the grub. Until Tara barked at and chased all the other birds until the robin ate and then she let the other birds in. Robin and Tara would talk to each other all day long. Soul mates. When Tara was killed in an accident the robin just sat on top of her kennel. And he didn’t sing.

The robin who is in our life now is a lot cheekier. So is the Jack Russell who now lives in that kennel. Páid and this robin have a different relationship. But I think they both love it.
While I have been sick lovely people have sent me photos of robins to keep my spirits up – and it definitely worked!

I don’t know if our loved ones come and talk to us through robins. I’m probably projecting too much human onto them. But I do know this – I am very grateful for the ones in my life.

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