I was still pretty young the first time I heard an animal speak. It was a lazy summer morning, and I was curled up on the back porch with a book in my lap. All around me in the yard, the birds were singing... and then I saw, only a few feet from me, a robin. I tried to still every part of me — heart, body and mind — quieting even my thoughts so that I wouldn't startle him away. Then the voice spoke, precise and articulate, nonchalant, almost amused. It must have all happened in less than a minute. My reasoning mind struggled to make sense of what I'd experienced. But the words still echoed. Had it all been in my mind? No more than the stars are in the sky.