Late in May, this young Robin appeared on one of the first-flight days for this young Robin. We startled him/her when we lunched on our patio next to their nest in our evergreen shrub. Six weeks later the Robin no longer visits the nest but has discovered the joy in bathing.
The metaphor for the last stage of life is often winter. Winter is a time of less energy when chilled temperatures, shorter days, plant dormancy or death, and animal migration and hibernation. Animals settle in for periods of longer rest or become “snow birds” literally migrating to warmer climates. Annual plants literally die. Perennial plants and deciduous trees have less energy, so quit their work and retire. There are some, like some people, that seem have eternal energy, determined to thrive throughout the harsh winter months.
“Green” is the most obvious sign of an active winter species. Buds, the plant’s newborns, do not always wait for spring’s warmer days and more colorful settings. The evergreen White Pine hosts young buds during winter months. These youthful outgrowths are surviving sub-zero temperatures while blanketed by dense snow, which does indeed give shelter species from the arctic air.
Not long ago was spring; and springtime equals baby deer time. Coming upon this young buck at the edge of the bike trail was not unforeseen except that he was all alone.
My mind raced to a few minutes earlier when I had startled a coyote on my preferred path, the unpaved horse trail of the Forest Preserve. Spotting this young buck I watched for awhile always in awe of the delicate features of this wild beast, and all the while hoped “mom” would soon appear. She did not.
The nearest doe I would see that morning would be a quarter mile further on the trail. Hopefully he will survive in this “preserve” which is home to predator as well as prey. Such is life in the wild which we too often choose to forget.
This adolescent buck was also solo which is not so surprising. I have seen ones his age still accompany sister and mother; but independence is the natural progression on the timeline for bucks and he had begun his solo journey. Unlike his elders he allowed me to observe him, stopping only to be attentive when multiple persons passed at the same time.
As the trail became more inhabited he proceeded to disappear in the mature prairie summer growth. His survival instincts were in play.