This is the time of year I find eggshells outgrown by their hatchlings, whisked trailside by breezes.
A hiccup of blue on the dark gravel, and I'm enchanted.
Last June I found one at Salmon Creek, and another at Vancouver Lake. This last was a mystery. The top of the shell was wedged in the cup-shaped bottom. As if, after splitting the shell, the baby bird stepped on the lid and pressed it compactly, the way you might stomp down the trash after taking it out.
However it happens, eggshells tell stories. Their emptiness fills my imagination and I have to take them home. Usually this means carrying them back down the trail a mile or two.
Here's how to carry a robin's eggshell. Cup it lightly in your hand to secure it from rolling, but don't put pressure on it. Nevermind pockets or purses. They will only smash. Keep your hand open. Watch what is around you - one brush with a backpack, tree branch, or torso could be the end. So walk: holding the shell out in front of you.
Notice the beauty and smallness of your life and your writing. Be aware of their hope and fragility. Hold them before you. Let your feet take you forward.