What can a Robin possibly do that Requires such Ablution?
Most (late) afternoons you will find me sipping a glass of wine and transplanting seedlings in my small lath house. The lath house is fifteen feet or so from a small pond. Several days ago, lost in thought, and pricking out seedlings, I heard, above the music of Midnight Oil, splashing. Directing my attention to the pond I watched as a Robin bathed itself, bathed itself for four or five minutes. It then flew to a nearby branch, fluffed up its feathers, wiped its beak, and flew away. The next day it returned and repeated the performance. This behavior has continued. My question is: What can a Robin possibly do in 24 hours that requires such ablution?
I’m reminded of a poem by Leslie Leyland Fields
My Last Banya with You
All afternoon you were chopping wood
for the banya, hauling water
with arms gone long and lean
bucket after bucket up the hill and
you did not stop until
the banya was filled
and the stovepipe burned red until
we were standing naked in our sweat
among only buckets of water
and steam I couldn’t breathe and
you threw water on the rocks
for more steam and more water
on the rocks and you wouldn’t stop
taking my breath and I can’t
see you anymore only steam in the corner
so I left you there.
What did you do
that you have to be so clean?