The morning we brought Ellie home, I was out with Cricket in the morning and we came across a little robin, sort of hopping on the walkway in stutter steps, and then belly flopping onto the grass. Cricket had had a moment of uneasiness with her legs a few minutes earlier, possibly as a result of the ACE she takes to tolerate grooming, so I was extra sensitive to motor problems in animals at that particular moment. When I tried to get closer to the robin to see what was wrong, though, she hopped behind a line of bushes and disappeared.
We saw the robin again in the afternoon, when she was bravely crossing the lawn to the tree-side, in her faltering little hops. The bird was able to sort of hop/fly up onto the first step of the retaining wall, where she could sit and rest for a bit. I worried that there was something wrong with her wings and she needed help, but each time I got close to her the robin freaked out and hopped away.
When we took Cricket and Ellie out for their first official walk that evening, the robin was sitting on the lawn a few feet in front of our door. Mom said that her speckled breast meant that she was young, less than a year old, and maybe just learning to fly for the first time, rather than experiencing a serious injury.
And by our next walk, the robin was gone. If she was able to fly, even a short distance away, then maybe her motor issues were temporary, just like Cricket’s. I’d like to think that she was testing her wings, and making new friends, and starting the next phase of her life. Just like me. I’ve been taking these stutter steps towards my future for a long time now, unsure if I can do it, unsure if my difficulties are just growing pains or permanent disability. I need to take a lot of breaks to rest and re-group, but even if I have to hop instead of fly most of the time, I keep going. Just like the little bird.