Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Various robins

We received another robin Christmas card today, from England of course, where robins are a winter bird. A harbinger of Santa rather than springtime, which it took me a long time to realize and I still forget sometimes (for only this morning did I finally realize why BBC Radio 1 had been playing "Rockin' Robin" every day for the past week).

Transatlanticism is a dangerous gig, really. You take robins for granted, or at least Helen Humphreys did in her otherwise impeccable The Frozen Thames: "The Thames has frozen over. Birds have begun to freeze to death, particularly that small symbol of spring, the Robin Redbreast, and instead of allowing this happen, the people of England have taken the birds into their houses so that they may shelter there until spring returns." But no, of course. "Humphreys lives in Kingston, Ontario." How was she supposed to know that robins could be such various things?