There is an old stone birdbath that stands, flower height, in the midst of a bed of pink vinca along my front walk. In the center of the birdbath sits a small fearsome gargoyle, bravely guarding the feathered bathers from Milo, the neighborhood cat. Apparently, the rather diminutive size of this scrunched-face stone creature in no way lessens his ability to perform his appointed duties with success, for this particular birdbath is quite popular, the pathway that borders it often wet from the enthusiastic splashes of jewel toned bathers.
One of these bathers is staring at me now, hot and impatient.
At present, it seems that Mother Nature is too absorbed in the creation of her magnum opus - the hottest year on record - to remember her other obligations, so it has fallen to me to provide refreshment for the flowers that have begun to suffer from lack of rain and, as I stand with my watering can poised over the vinca, I can feel the Robin’s unwavering stare. I glance at him over my shoulder, and the trees hear me mutter, “Oh, just go ahead and get in the bath. I won’t bother you, you should know that by now.”
And instantly, I hear a flutter of wings as the Robin lights softly on the bath at my feet. Peering up at my face for a second, he proceeds to hop right into the water, gleefully splashing fat droplets all over my linen-clad legs. Close enough for me to touch, he seems perfectly content in my presence, not unlike a Disney bird with a cartoon Cinderella.
I don’t think I’ve been paid a better compliment in years.