My relationship with robins began in childhood, when I used to find the most peace, outside alone. It was when I thought with the trees, with earth, with timelessness that spiritual guidance, knowing and knowledge would speak and move about in beautiful and insightful designs of revelations. Robins were always there. And when years later, my sister Margaret and her husband Gene bought that little house in Glenpool, Oklahoma right after they were married; there were robins. When I first visited, there was a sapling sycamore tree in the front yard. You can see it in the early photographs. Baby Missy and the young tree were the same height. They grew together. A family of robins live there. Every time I visited, every one, two, or three years, I would see the robins. I came to know generations of robins who lived there with Margaret and her family.

I planned on locating the unrestricted land still held by my family, and building a small cabin to live there summers, during stomp dance season. I never thought I would move back. I loved living in New Mexico. I love the light, the mountains, and how native cultures have more of an honored presence and place, yet Oklahoma is where I was born, and where my tribal nation now lives. My guiding spirit told me to move back, just after my mother passed October of 2011. By that November, I was buying and living in that Glenpool house, my sister living in our mother’s house in Tulsa that she inherited.  To move back, said my spirit guardian, was what I should do, to be exactly where I needed to be for my life to unfold in the best manner. This guardian has been with me this whole earthly journey. I have learned not to argue with my spirit, though sometimes I can’t help myself. And when I don’t listen and follow instructions, I always pay. This time I listened.

After I returned, every morning I would take my flute out and play for the sun. I would also blow prayers on my flute. The oldest robin, the one who looked out over the yard watched me intently that first morning I went out and stood there in the backyard looking East. He began speaking to me. He asked, “Who are you?” I made myself his size, out of respect. “I am her sister,” I told him, “the one who used to live here with her mate.” That satisfied him. Then I played my flute. He had never heard anything like it. He had never seen a human become a bird.

He always watched me after that—whatever I did. I watched him too.  I came to learn that he was the one assigned to make the speeches about the state of the robin world in the area. There is one everywhere there are robins. It is a special kind of bird-talking, like our punvkv cvpkeckv: oratory.

Now robins wherever I go seem to know me. They find me.  When I moved from that little house into the Tulsa house with my husband, I missed that robin more than anything there. One morning I was very sad with the missing. I opened the front door and there were over fifty robins. No, they didn’t say anything. They eventually scattered. They are birds and we are humans after all in a world in which humans appear to be destroying this earth that is home to birds, to all of us. We used to know how to communicate more freely. We can still learn.





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  1. Ditto , Joy.
    And once, a robin so large I thought it was a raptor , flew into the windshield when I was going 35 in my 280ZX. Immediately I stopped , and drove home with the earth’s biggest robin covering my lap. When I arrived home there was a new voicemail from my NM friend Rabbi Chava , telling me that a car accident had just killed our close friend SuAnne–who composed elaborate paintings expressing the alchemical dynamics of each Hebrew letter.. My poem of that moment is somewhere in the riches of my file cabinet here.
    Yes, lifelong ditto Joy.
    Here’s to “Talkin’ , Rockin’, and Deathwalkin’ all creatures.” (c)bg

  2. Very beautiful. There is a lot of hope in your ending “we can still learn.” I like the birds and listen and watch them f ok my third floor rooftop apt. I like how you say you made yourself small as the bird and played flute

  3. What a Lovely Story! Thank-you for sharing it Joy! I too love robins and I too have been called HOME to the land of my paternal ancestors,on Bell Island, NL, Canada, to as you say to be exactly where I need to be for my life to unfold in the best manner. It means leaving the home I created with love, single parenting my only son. On his 5th birthday a clutch of baby robins bobbed their little tufts of fluff above the nest in the Manitoaba maple tree hovering luscious shade over our porch; an indelible memory for me 🙂

  4. I recently moved into a new place. The road being called Robin Lane. Near the deck there is a pine tree with limbs hanging on the rails. Spring came and so did the many Robins. One which built a nest on that very tree. We have scared each other countless times this season. Both of us aware we are in each others space. I do not look in the tree for the nest and try to be a good neighbor and she or he tries to remember to fly into the tree not from the deck. Two days ago the first baby robin climbed out of the nest and on the branch near the deck. I tend to slide open the glass door in the morning to say hello. This time the baby bird stood there silent and not moving looking at me as I did at it. We both aware of our presence both not knowing what to do just staring at each other. Both amazed with each other.
    Joys last line in her blog is what the baby Robin and I were thinking and wondering how to answer.

  5. I loved reading about your relationship to the robins, Joy. When I was a child, I enjoyed watching robins hop about our yard in western Pennsylvania. I was especially fascinated when one caught a worm. But I was really fascinated by all birds and their beautiful songs.
    My curiosity about all birds continues today. I now live in Arizona and am particularly fond of watching the Western Cardinals and the little humming birds that visit my patio. The cactus wrens make me smile. Once while I was meditating one landed on my head!

  6. I am just back from Lake Ontario at the New York Canadian border. 2 years ago a mother Robin was feeding her baby on the fence of the cottage I had. This became my treasure, watching, listening, at times worrying—when will Mama come back.. This year I asked every Robin, are you that baby grown up. Such delight then to learn of you, and read this blog. I am looking and learning. I most certainly will play my flute with them. Thanks

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