Had we left an hour earlier, we wouldn’t have seen what we saw.
“There’s a bird’s nest in the tree, and there are eggs in the nest, and one of them is cracking open right now!” Lily yelled, running toward her aunt and me.
I looked at Catherine and raised a brow as if to say, “There’s probably a bit of fantasy at play here.”
But we were already jogging, so what the heck. We sprinted toward Lily’s find.
Sure enough, we were right in time to watch a robin being born.
It was a tension-filled work week, and a tedious Saturday spent cleaning the house. I think Catherine could tell I needed to “run it out”, so she called me around 2:30 and said, “Come on. Let’s go for a run.”
I was in the middle of culling through Lily’s summer clothes (all of them are too small again), and had yet to plug in the vacuum.
“Give me another hour,” I pleaded. “But no more than that. Make me leave.”
So she came over, looking like a real runner wearing breathable fabric and a water belt. Lily and I threw on some dirty workout clothes (I still had not gotten to the laundry) and the three of us ventured out for some exercise – Lily on her bike, Catherine and I running behind her.
We ran down Hillsboro Road, at my pace, which is slower than Catherine’s. Lily pedaled on ahead. We turned into the Franklin rec center, intending to ditch Lily’s bike so she could join us around the loop behind the complex. (It’s one mile, and perfect for little kids whose parents drag them into children’s running events like the Country Music Kids Marathon next Friday night.)
But as Lily put her bike in the rack and turned to wait for us to catch up, she spotted something moving in the crook of a poplar tree. Twins, one way ahead of the other. A shade of blue you’d name a crayon for. The shell cracking from the inside out. The tiny creature unfolding in waves, resting deeply between each new movement. Imagine how much energy it requires to midwife oneself.
An hour late because I needed to vacuum. Five minutes more because we couldn’t find clean clothes. Add a minute because I’m a slow runner.
I told Catherine, “We were right on time to see this happen.”
“And it’s exactly what you needed to see,” she said.