Dreading my 20 minute walk home I stared out the window of my office at the rain pouring down and pooling on the cement below. Suddenly, a Robin flew toward me and landed on the skinny ledge opposite the glass. It was holding a dripping maple leaf in its beak, every discernable feather was curled and out of line, and water drops were rolling off its wings. With its large brown eyes, the Robin peered in at me with pure envy. I stared back, perhaps even more envious.
You see, this bird is designed to be out in the rain. I am not.
To cope with the inconvenience of precipitation, I have numerous rain coats, rain pants, and waterproof boots, shoes, gloves and hats. And let’s not forget the umbrella that lives in a closet somewhere. I have to lug this stuff around with me in a backpack every time the weather forecasters tell me there is at least a 50% chance of rain.
The Robin, on the other hand, does not have to carry any extra gear with it to deal with a potentially rainy day. It has feathers that are slick to allow water to run off before it has a chance to soak through to the skin to make it feel cold. This fortunate animal has the abilitity to contract its muscles and stand its feathers up to create a natural down jacket in order to trap its body heat to keep warm. When I am cold, the hair on my body also stands up and I start to shiver, which is its way of trying to keep me warm. However, I have yet to actually get warm by sitting still and shivering. A Robin can do this for hours!
So I stare at the Robin and it stares at me. I wonder if it is thinking about how I can survive being contained inside the building. I wonder what it would think it if were to come inside with me for awhile and not have to deal with the rain or snow or wind. Would it have a preference if given the option? Would it choose to stay indoors where it is always the dry season or go back out to the ever-changing weather it is accustomed to?
Finally one of us blinks and in that instant the bird flies off, leaving me with both the gift of the maple leaf on the ledge and the gift of wonder to take with me as I splash through the puddles on my trek home.