Wake-Robin eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 180 pages of information about Wake-Robin.

It was then five o’clock, so that we had been in the woods just forty-eight hours; but if time is only phenomenal, as the philosophers say, and life only in feeling, as the poets aver, we were some months, if not years, older at that moment than we had been two days before.  Yet younger, too,—­though this be a paradox,—­for the birches had infused into us some of their own suppleness and strength. 1869.

VII

THE BLUEBIRD

When Nature made the bluebird she wished to propitiate both the sky and the earth, so she gave him the color of the one on his back and the hue of the other on his breast, and ordained that his appearance in the spring should denote that the strife and war between these two elements was at an end.  He is the peace-harbinger; in him the celestial and terrestrial strike hands and are fast friends.  He means the furrow and he means the warmth; he means all the soft, wooing influences of the spring on one hand, and the retreating footsteps of winter on the other.

It is sure to be a bright March morning when you first hear his note; and it is as if the milder influences up above had found a voice and let a word fall upon your ear, so tender is it and so prophetic, a hope tinged with a regret.

“Bermuda!  Bermuda!  Bermuda!” he seems to say, as if both invoking and lamenting, and, behold!  Bermuda follows close, though the little pilgrim may only be repeating the tradition of his race, himself having come only from Florida, the Carolinas, or even from Virginia, where he has found his Bermuda on some broad sunny hillside thickly studded with cedars and persimmon-trees.

In New York and in New England the sap starts up in the sugar maple the very day the bluebird arrives, and sugar-making begins forthwith.  The bird is generally a mere disembodied voice; a rumor in the air for tow of three days before it takes visible shape before you.  The males are the pioneers, and come several days in advance of the females.  By the time both are here and the pairs have begun to prospect for a place to nest, sugar-making is over, the last vestige of snow has disappeared, and the plow is brightening its mould-board in the new furrow.

The bluebird enjoys the preëminence of being the first bit of color that cheers our northern landscape.  The other birds that arrive about the same time—­the sparrow, the robin, the phoebe-bird—­are clad in neutral tints, gray, brown, or russet; but the bluebird brings one of the primary hues and the divinest of them all.

This bird also has the distinction of answering very nearly to the robin redbreast of English memory, and was by the early settlers of New England christened the blue robin.

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Wake-Robin from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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