When the goldfinches have dulled and most of our birds are wearing muted winter coats, the Northern Cardinal sports the brightest color in the forest. While the males are truly brilliant, the females are lovely as well. My mother never called them "cardinals." To her they were always "red birds." I was in fifth grade when I learned the real name of the red bird.
We are having rain, fog, and mist here in the mountains. Almost everything seems the same shade of gray. But when our native Northern Cardinals appear, they brighten up the forest and warm our hearts.
They sit in the trees in the early morning and late afternoon, waiting to dine at our feeders.
The male has a beautiful color that can only be described as "cardinal red."
This angle does not show his topknot.
The females are not as brightly colored. Some of them even appear gray.
But they are still lovely birds.
On rainy winter days I always think of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "The Rainy Day"
And it's on my mind today.
Here is part of it:
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
I have always loved poetry. I memorized tons of poems when I was a child and can still recite most of them. My Kindle is packed with anthologies and complete works of many poets. I love the fact that I can carry the works of so many great poets in such a tiny convenient space. I often pull them up and read them again and again. And I have audible books with some contemporary poets reading their own work. Oh, so lovely. Often I sit on the deck watching the birds and listening to poetry readings. So peaceful.
Hope you have a good week. Make a promise to yourself that you will not let the season turn you into a shrew. For Christians the countdown to Christmas has begun. For Jews, Hanukkah begins next Sunday at sundown. This should be a season of reflection and peace. Don't let it become chaos and despair.