I have a thing about cardinals. Not the baseball Cardinals, or the religious Cardinals, but those beautiful, red-feathered birds.
They are my sign that all is well when that is sometimes not the case. Just to see or hear one of these cheerful creatures immediately uplifts me.
One beautiful summer morning, while meditating in the garden, there appeared to be more birds than usual fluttering around the feeder.
They seemed to be performing some kind of ritual. A few of them pecked away at the seeds while others hovered nearby, waiting their turn.
Then, I noticed the birds on the ground feeding each other with the seeds spilling from the feeder.
I sat spellbound watching birds splashing in the bath, swooping and diving, twittering and chirping; ordinary backyard birds; sparrows, starlings, robins, a finch or two and one female cardinal. Time seemed to stand still.
I was entranced as I watched. Three or four sparrows splashed around in the bath, drank, shook a rainbow of water from their wings, and flew away while others took their place.
The female cardinal took over, vigorously flapping her wings, and sending sprays in every direction.
I remember thinking this whole show was being performed just for me, and that the beautiful, bright red male cardinal, would appear on my clothesline as the grand finale.
As I sat waiting, secure in the knowledge that this would be the case, I suddenly realized that time was not standing still, and I had to leave for work.
Reluctantly leaving the sights and sounds, I went into the house to prepare for the long day ahead.
Disappointed that I would miss the cardinal’s appearance, I was ready to leave when I heard his distinct whistle, “cheer, cheer, cheer”. I knew that when I looked out he would be there—and he was.
“Thank you!” I breathed to God and the red-feathered bird sitting on my clothesline.
It was going to be a great day.