post by Lynn
Then I had a memory of one day last spring when my husband, Mike, called to me from outside, “Come here, I have something to show you.”
I went out in my robe (pays to live in the country) and he pointed at a fledgling robin, blinking up at us from a patch of grass. Fortunately, Luna, our span-triever, had not spotted the little guy. She was focused, as usual, on the green tennis ball in Mike’s hand.
As Luna stood right next to it, the fledgling looked up at the big red dog and simply opened its beak in gaping trust.
Later that morning we found the fledgling in a small pine tree. We spotted the parents nearby, one with a beak full of food, the other keeping watch from high on the power line.
Mike changed his plan to mow that morning, in case the little robin might be hiding in the tall grass. For a time we did a sweep of the yard before letting Luna out.
Silly, that obsession with one little fledgling. Not at all practical. And why did we even care? There are tons of robins around, and many of the babies don’t make it past the fledgling stage anyway, which is why birds lay so many eggs.
Still, Mike and I couldn’t help but cheer on that little bit of life.
It occurs to me that I should do as much for my fledgling stories, essays, poems, and blog posts.
Many writers, myself included, tend to hatch a clutch of words and think that the things should fly immediately. There you go, off to be published.
Maybe we could take some cues from parent robins—experts in the care and feeding of fledgling life:
- Feed them. Stories need our energy just as much as baby birds needs mushed worms. They need periodic visits and infusions of fresh words. When they are small they need shelter from the hail stones of criticism.
- Be patient. Step back and wait. Your babies are still growing the feathers necessary for flight. But have faith that flight is possible, even inevitable. All in good time.
- Let them flail and flop and fall. It’s all part of the process.
- Accept that not all of your babies will live to fly. You’ll lose a few. Some are stunted, not meant for the sky. A hard fact, but you have to move on, focus on the fledglings you have left, lay some more eggs. Make more life.
Cheer on the little bit of life that is your writing today.