cardinal

Warm sun and an inversion layer bringing traffic noise from over the ridge. Cardinals and titmice compete with the whine of truck tires.

I take off my hat to sunbathe as icicles drop, turning the roof toothless. The brass section tunes up: jay, cardinal, song sparrow.

Four inches of wet snow clinging to every branch is almost all shaken down in one great blast of wind. The cardinal never stops singing.

‪The usual bird calls—cardinal, titmouse, red-bellied woodpecker—but something seems off. It’s the clouds, coming from the wrong direction.‬

Male cardinals bathe side-by-side in the stream, then resume chasing. A jay perches in a dogwood bush shaking the water from his wings.

A female cardinal gleans seeds from a false buckwheat vine, dangling upside-down, fluttering in mid-air—as acrobatic as any chickadee.

Fog gives way to mid-morning haze. The neighbors’ rooster doesn’t so much crow as moan. I listen to cardinal song and imagine it’s February.