By Harald Jes
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It was real and this was the main point. The things in it were real. The situations in it developed accurately according to a logical design. The stars that penetrated the darkness of space were real, not just a distant glitter. The shimmering snow sparkle was real, not tinsel. The bird was real, not an imitation or a falsehood. The winter's hard labor we had just experienced was performed for a real purpose, not just for gain, and it had a salubrious effect upon our bodies and our minds. It had to do with life, real life; it had to do with survival.
We got  The Lovely to the spring and looked for the robin. We looked at each other disappointed; it must have gone. No, there it was, just a bit farther up past the spring on a branch, resplendent, its breast appearing never so rust-red as today when seen for the first time, the first robin in the obscurity of the tall trees. The bird scanned us questioningly with its left eye. It uttered a soft note, que-wit-ivit. Did it mean who are they? It flapped its wings softly against its flanks. It flew farther in amongst the trees, sat for a while, then flew out of sight down on a spot of bare ground.
When I got to the spot I found a pair of veeries attacking a red squirrel with a fury rarely displayed by these gentle thrushes. Why? Because the sight of the squirrel feasting upon the exposed red liver of their fledgling aroused their vehement protest, naturally. They dived at the predator, tried to unseat it, chase it, but never got close enough even to touch it. The squirrel only jumped around so that it always faced the attacking birds and continued to enjoy its ill-gotten meal. These episodes, and also the idea acquired in childhood that the squirrels were "bad" characters, turned me against them and indeed against any other creature that was likely to interfere with those from which I reserved all my sympathy, the birds.