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Last evening, it happened again outside my study window. Breezes parted the dense foliage of the summer snowflake viburnum shrub and a glimmer of red shot through—what looked like almond-shaped red feathers on the top of the cardinal’s head; around him, a twiggy nest. He may have been there through the night.

And this morning, his mate was in full view making her way up through the branches toward the nest. There, she remained, hidden. Like last year, she and her mate selected a protected site for their brood and their later frantic feeding.

Preparing for fledgling life continues.

I stir in my chair, let my pen fall to my lap. I listen. Can it be? Yes! A hymnody of chirps enlivens the early morning stillness still trapped in February’s bite. Outside my study window a mess of sparrows and finches flit among thickets of Missouri honeysuckle brambles, their transitional home in the universe. Transfixed, I watch. Minutes pass. Joy seasons my soul like fresh herbs in a savory stew.

Again in my chair, I reflect upon the epiphany of this new sound, a harbinger of seasonal change; on its heels, pristine greening will split tight buds on trees and bushes and stir hoary grasses on lawns and fields.

Then I reflect upon the tight places in my spirit, still congealed within winter’s dark, inert forms to which I’d grown accustomed. A sapling begins to emerge that mandates tending. It wasn’t there before the birds’ song.

I offer thanks …



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