I can never disassociate Pinegrove or my Nonna when thinking about cardinals. These beautiful red birds are introverted from what I’ve observed throughout the years we’ve had our bird feeders in the yard. And maybe that’s why I love and relate to them so much. They usually come to feed when all the other birds have gone, preferring solitude than a crowded feeding frenzy. Blue jays are way more aggressive and will disrupt other birds in order to get their snack. But cardinals must always be watching somehow, to know when the coast is clear. Their black masks shield their eyes. Bright red. I’ve never seen a cardinal fledgling. I don’t know how birds only live off of nuts and seeds and worms. I’d jump out the nest if that were my diet.

I’ve never found a cardinal feather laying about anywhere. I wonder if they just stay in place better. From the deck in the yard, I have a great vantage point of two bird feeders, both bird feeders. And I watch them all come and go. Usually when I first enter, they get skittish and scared and fly away, tweeting like mad. But when I stay still out there, say to meditate, when I open my eyes they have all come back and have forgotten that I’m here, still watching. I wonder if there ever was a time when birds were not afraid, and they would just let you approach. Humans are unpredictable and scary. I can attest to that.

The cardinal’s song is something unique. Something Nonna always knew about somehow. We’d hear a bird, and she’d say, “Ah, that’s a cardinal”. And lo and behold one would appear in the yard. We also have a cardinal Christmas ornament. It’s a big, red, stuffed bird with sequins and beaded eyes. I don’t know what the story is behind it, but I’m fairly confident we’ve had it for awhile. Maybe it was Nonna’s. Who knows. Cardinals hopping from branch to branch. They are so good at hiding. Their red color is so difficult to pick out from a big tree or landscape, unless it’s right in front of you.

There are all sorts of birds. I’m not sure who Cardinal gets along with most. I’m not a bird-watcher or any sort of avian con-

Author: Roe

she/her. Songwriter & Trek Punk Soul™.

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