Little Robin Redbreast.


Pale memories abound at this time of year. One continues to surface, triggered by a red velvet bow on a Christmas present. The same colour as my winter mittens from long ago. My mother knitted them when I was six, the wool soft as the moss at the base of the oaks at the end of our garden. Wearing them was like covering your hands in hundreds of tiny little feathers.

‘They’re the same colour as the red breast of a robin,’ said my mother. ‘If you go into the woods at the end of the garden you might just see one.’ It suddenly became very important to find this little bird that was the same colour as my mittens. I put on my coat, my boots, and of course, my mittens and stepped outside.

It was one of those winter afternoons where the air is so cold it momentarily takes your breath away, where the freshly fallen snow on top of the hardened, icy snow forms a mosaic of texture and colour. Powder, ice, silver, blue and white.

Snowboots punched through the top layer of brilliant white, creating furrows cast like waves. Breath rose like a newly extinguished candle, soaring to the opaque sky. Trees huddled at the end of the garden. The snow on the branches was wet, dripping, forming icicles. I wondered if the ice that came from snow was sweet or sour.

The woods were quiet. It was another world. Like being in a tent. The stream had frozen over. I worried about the fish I saw swimming there in the springtime. I hoped they didn’t end up frozen and stiff like the ones Aunt May cooked in a bag in a boiling pot of water. I liked to see their long tails flicking through the water.

I heard a bird calling – sweet yet mournful, like it was singing about life and death all at once. Then I saw it. Bright, orange-red breast, face and throat edged with grey. Little white tummy. It was perched in the hedgerow like it was waiting for the lowering of the light. It looked at my mittens, fluffed up its breast. The colours matched. For a moment I felt like I was in a woodland painting and the robin and I were fashioned by the same brush. I was as happy as I have ever been.

I heard my mother calling. I turned to answer. When I looked back the robin was gone but his song rang through the trees. It was melodious as a nightingale. The robin was gone but my mittens remained, redder and brighter than before. I held them to my face, awash with love, ignoring the crisp bite of the air as I waited to hear once more, the robin’s song.

22 thoughts on “Little Robin Redbreast.

  1. Again. Again with your lovely imagery. It just SLAYS me.

    “I held them to my face, awash with love…” You just CAPTURE those moments so well. Do you write poetry, too?


  2. Oh I so miss winter and “Christmas-time” together! I miss snow. I miss dark afternoons wandering through the merry crowds in the shopping districts, hearing festive music and twinkling displays. I miss curling up on a sofa in front of a blazing fireplace and a bright tree, feeling full of cooked dinner and listening to family laughing, joking, and teasing each other.

    Of course, half those memories that I miss I only experienced through books. That doesn’t make them any less memorable. So I’m off to curl up with a book for a little while…


  3. I was searching for this kind of a blog for months now. Actually lost the hope of finding one, but here i am 🙂 Thanks for the great articles! Looking forward for a little read after dinner 🙂


  4. I’ll try to post a comment again, but I don’t have much hope…

    What you’ve written here is excellent, so pure in that childhood wonderment of life. Tis bliss.


  5. Selma, I’m going to try this again. The guy at WordPress said he fixed the problem…

    Anyway, I love this post. You have fully captured the essence of childhood, winter, and wonder.


  6. Selma, your writing warms my heart and this post felt as if a heavy, cozy blanket had been placed on me on a cold winter day. Lovely. Merry Christmas.


  7. Heather – I am so glad you liked this story. I have aspirations to be a poet but sadly, the 175 rejection slips in my desk drawer say otherwise. C’est la vie!

    Miss Britt – you have no idea how much I enjoy your writing. Everyone writes in a different style. I truly love your wit and your originality. I am a big fan!

    David – I haven’t forgotten how magical Christmases were for me as a child. I try to recreate that feeling every year!

    Meleah – I am blushing – no really. My son has come in and has said ‘Mum you actually have colour in your cheeks.’ Usually, I am quite pale. I told him : “My friend Meleah has given me a tonic.’ Thank you.

    Paisley – I envy your ability to write poetry. No envy, is the wrong word. I relish your ability to write poetry because then it means I have the enjoyment of reading it!

    Daoine – books have shaped a lot of my Christmas memories too. There’s nothing like a good book at Christmas!

    animal facts – so glad you stopped by. Welcome. I’ve had a bit of a problem with my server so I apologise for the late reply. Will be posting later on today and also visiting your blog!

    Groovy – Awww, shucks. You are a sweetie!

    Josie – you are amazing too. Merry Christmas!

    Meleah – why aren’t there more caring people like you in the world? I really mean it. Overnight, the world would be a better place. You are such a special person!

    Anthony – that is high praise indeed coming from a writer like yourself. A very Merry Christmas to you too.

    daoine – A very Merry Christmas to you too!

    laurie – Wishing you and your gorgeous son a wonderful Christmas!


  8. What a lovely story! I love the sense memories you evoke. “Wearing them was like covering your hands in hundreds of tiny little feathers”. What a nice detail. Your Robin is very much like our Bluebird, by the way, a thrush that can conjure up winter warmth and happiness.

    I’m so glad to find your blog!


  9. zeladoniac – welcome! Thank you so much for stopping by. Oh how I love bluebirds. I saw them when I visited my sister in America and immediately fell in love. They are the most beautiful of creatures!


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