My grandparents were always trying to make miniature naturists out of us. We would sit in the yard and Nana would point out the birds and plants that she knew. She was always so excited about all of them!
Oh, see that? It's called Queen Anne's lace! You're mommy(more) carried it in her bouquet when she married your daddy!
And that's a cardinal! See it? That's the state bird of Illinois.
Ooo! See that bluejay? In the bushes? Say, "Hello, Mr. Bluejay!"
And there's a robin red-breast! See him hopping around on the fence?
Now, I was proud that I could recognize the robin, but he seemed sort of... lackluster, after the cardinal and the bluejay. He wasn't bright or colorful- his red-breast wasn't even red!- and he had no state position as far as I knew. He was drab and looked to me like he had been carved out of a piece of dark wood.
The robin had one spectacular quality, though. Every spring Papa would lift us up, one by one, to see the robin's eggs in the evergreen tree out front. (Back then it wasn't much larger than a Christmas tree; the same tree now towers over the house.) Those eggs were small, perfect-blue orbs. Without being able to express it, I wondered how something so whimsical could come from that boring bird.
And recently, I was holding my three year-old nephew the other day.
"That's a robin! See him?" My voice pitched with excitement.
"A robin?" He wrapped his mouth around the new word.
"Yeah! Isn't that cool?"
"Yeah!" He probably had no idea why I was excited. Honestly, neither do I.
I hope we can find a nest this spring, though.(less)