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Although my symptoms continue constricting my life experience to the bare-bones essential, vibrant life still streams through my study windows. Through one of them, male cardinals have flitted among branches of the summer snowflake viburnum, possibly scouting a suitable place for a nest—Seems like they did that last year.

This morning, two females, their beaks filled with a single twig and bleached grasses, hovered over the designated site, dropped their loads, their getaways, a flurry of reddish-browns. Indeed, another nest is in progress. That also means yellow-mouthed fledglings, anxious feedings—insects, partially digested earthworms, around the clock.

The return of mating cardinals in my backyard also carries spiritual significance, especially as my end-time plays out.

With their reddish plumage, they stir deeper courage facing life’s challenges. They also serve as spirit guides, as models for embracing instinctive obedience to cyclical cues of life, and for activating the root chakra, red in color, that brings up emotions and beliefs around loyalty and a sense of belonging. 

Cardinals’ mating for life speaks of God’s unconditional love for all creation. They can also show up as a positive omen for finding your soul mate or twin flame, any time during the life span. 

Never having experienced death in my body before, other than obvious signs of aging, I’ll be specially companied during the coming weeks. I’m deeply moved …

It’s catching … desperate need for discernment …

Pre-dawn raindrops glisten the leaves of the viburnum shrub outside my study window as the sky lightens and clothes the backyard with color. Another morning tiptoes with expectations for more cardinal feedings: their chicks, newly winged and feathered, beaks ravenous for more mashed seeds. Last evening, the chicks flitted around the nest like little princesses at their first ball. Such was their beginnings as fledglings.

Hours pass. No flickers of red/brown wings zoom toward the nest. No brown tail hugs its side. No breezes disturb the branches of the viburnum. All is strangely quiet, unlike other mornings the past ten days, alive with feedings, zinging back and forth. A sickening sense grips me: the cardinal family is gone. It was their time.

I am both impoverished and enriched. No longer will I squeal in delight with beak-to-beak feedings. No longer will I marvel at their alighting and takeoff, branches trembling with movement. No longer will I study their symmetrical wings, preening in the sun.

But I’m also enriched. My psyche will forever carry the imprint of the cardinals’beauty, their chirrup, their instinctual caring. They knew to abandon the nest for the continued rearing of their chicks, its usefulness completed.

Other lessons gleaned from these winged creatures also enhance my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps: accepting life on life’s terms, willingness, teachability, letting go, trusting in the continued feedings, from wherever they come.

And Jesus of Nazareth loved birds: Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mt 6:26)

Whole-hearted surrender must follow…

 

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