Cardinal in My Sister’s Garden

The female cardinal wears a light brown cloak over her red-orange dress as she monitors her feeding station in my sister’s garden. The cardinal shares with other females of her kind, but doesn’t tolerate different species. The bright red tuft-headed male stays out of this territorial monitoring.

 I asked the female cardinal if would talk with me.

She answered, “Why are you always asking questions? Why don’t you just be where you are?”

A good question, I acknowledged, and asked another question. Did she have a message to share with people?

She paused for a second, then said, “Honor the seasons, honor the cycles. When we lose a nest we build another. When the feeder is empty we find other food. All is as it should be. You are too concerned about keeping things as they are, yet change happens, always. To lock it in works against the flow. Learn to fly, like us. You don’t need wings. It is what you call a metaphor.”

“Would you explain what you mean,” I asked?

I felt more than heard the bird equivalent of a sigh. “When you are one with the flow, you will find your ground, your place to perch. It is a matter of trust.”

I got it. “Trust the process?”

Cardinal was pleased. “Well done. You have received the teaching.” Lesson over, she flew over to chase some sparrows from her feeder.

I continued to sit on the garden bench. My sister, Linda, has created and nurtured a space of green, welcoming of wild and wounded life, offering sanctuary. Roses in shades of pink and red “rustled” from antique plants in old graveyards thrive here under her watchful eye, a legacy continuing in this time capsule of space. I am surrounded by lush green foliage that harbors many species, sculptures that dance in the breeze, and the trickle of water from a bird bath fountain. The fluttering of wings sets a rhythm to the calls of doves, peck peck of the flicker, purr of the cat. I feel the breeze blow through me and the pulse of the earth beneath my feet. Gratitude for sanctuary.

2 Responses to “Cardinal in My Sister’s Garden”

  • Maria:

    Believe it or not today i had a female cardinal tap several times on my glass window. I looked up, and noticed her male partner sitting on the branch where i keep my bird feeder. The feeder was empty…i forgot to fill it in, and we are having a cold spell right now here in central Fl. So i think the female was politely asking for food. The feeder is full of yummy seeds now, specially sunflowers, their favorite.
    Hopefully they will put on a good show for me.
    They think i am giving them food, but the birds are the ones feeding my soul…Proves you can go on an empty stomach, but always need inspiration for life.

  • revnancy:

    Maria, yes, these interactions do fill the soul and remind us all that we and the animals are all in this world together. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

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"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." - George Eliot
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi
"There is little that separates humans from other sentient beings – we all feel pain, we all feel joy, we all deeply crave to be alive and live freely, and we all share this planet together." - attributed to Gandhi
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