Cardinals, everywhere, cardinals

When I disappear there is a reason. So for two days my body has been under attack by a gastrointestinal virus. Stop all intake, give the gut a rest. Nothing stayed down or in. Tres, tres ugly. Upside? I’m seven pounds lighter. Poor choice of diet, I know. By today I am at least eating. Not always retaining, but hopeful. And upright. That was a miracle. The dehydrated body doesn’t readily remain upright. Lots of liquids, lots of sleep, denial of the ever-present sore throat, and refusal to capitulate always means I’m sicker longer. Some of you behave the same.

Today I cleaned up the bathroom,  drank lots of warm tea, said deflect, do the blog and do the nap. Nap in a minute. Time out for Face Book…sorry to admit I am a complete addict now….and then back in my bed. Close to the water closet. And next to the sliding glass door that reveals the title of this blog. Cardinals.

There are many and they are gorgeous. In the two states where I have lived, cardinals have always been in residence. I have to remind myself that this is not true in all states and rarely in such great numbers as I see here. One is lovely. Two is magical. Countless is miraculous. They are so diligent in their feeding. The males protect and prefer the company of their females, who are, in their own way, equally beautiful. Their gray-green bodies have a velveteen softness that, against holly, is complimentary and perfect. They know their beauty. I love their knowing.

Cardinals are ground feeders, berry pickers, snackers. They party in groups. I know when there is one picking up seeds beneath the feeder that a partner, at the least, is close by.

The birds who frequent  my feeder are all favorites. They are comfortable here, and safe, for the feeder is tucked behind the bushes that front my kitchen windows, and they are protected from the elements. They look in the window and see me, and feel perfectly safe. When I have neglected the feeder, they sit in the low dogwood and stare at me. Chickadees. Titmice. Finches. Small woodpeckers.  Okay, okay, I’m coming.

A few days of illness are relieved with their normalcy, their predictability, their beauty. They ease my discomfort and take my mind off myself. They are like little gifts, small treasures of perfection like so many all around me. A long time ago, after a surgery, I stood in the moonlight with my Dad, watching a large spider spinning silver, catching moonbeams beneath the garage light. Hoping to snare a fly or a moth to wrap for her morning meal.

I looked at my Dad looking at me. A rare connection of both understanding and love, that whatever we are or have been, there is that nebulous something present all the time that, when tapped into or stumbled across, blooms like a desert rose, and feeds the spirit like manna.

Cardinals. They do that, too.

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