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National Trust

The common lies COVID-closed. She creeps in anyway — skirting the frozen wildlife pond, past the rustic playground, its snow-edged structures like gingerbread houses, ignoring colour-coded waymarks — to reach their favourite willow. She pulls her woollen hat over her ears, reknots her scarf, removes her right glove. Propped against an ivied stump, she opens her hand and sprinkles it with mealworms.

Then she waits.

Waits some more.

Shifts her weight. Prays he’ll come.

The robin alights on her outstretched palm. Hello, she whispers, savouring his warm, squat body, the drum brush of his feathers, the faith he still shows in her skin.



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