Caussey's Corner

Red Birds Ride the Cresting Wind: Watching a Texas Red Bird

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The day was cold and bleak. Dark clouds clung with an Arctic fervor, reminding any witness of the devastation faced by Napoleon’s army, as it must have retreated from Moscow.

Looking out my breakfast window, gloominess settled over me like a darkened bridal veil, and I longed for the brightness of an angel’s kiss on my chill-bumped neck.

The wind was strong from the north, long escorted by drops in temperature concentrated in the frigid womb of northern Canada. Ice pellets attacked the window and clutched like desperate children as though pursued by a beast in a storybook tale.

My spirits fell into the bottom of my stomach as the fabrics of my wool Christmas socks fought for warmth against the stone-cold surface of the tile kitchen floor.

Red Birds Ride the Cresting Wind: Watching a Texas Red Bird

Photo: @cjh8690 via Twenty20

Just as I was about to escape into my enclave of despair, brightness caught my eye. It radiated its deep red texture against the melancholy gray sky. It swayed boldly like a train conductor’s lantern against the darkest night.

There on a single jasmine limb waving back and forth like a passenger on a state fair ride, sat the most beautiful Cardinal. He stuck his breast into the wind showing his inner plumage with no fear of the cold day that was unfolding. He sat there boldly like a warning guidon proclaiming to the waning winter of the spring that was just ahead.

My spirits soared toward a sun shrouded in wintry plight and an often-docile stratosphere, now engulfed in waves of chilling weather. Cheerfulness reigned once again in the crevices of an aging heart. My feet felt like toast, and the chill from my neck disappeared with the brush of warm soft lips.

The cardinal dipped and bowed as though a UFO possessed. While just above him on an elm tree branch his mate sat stoic, back against the wind, with head buried deep in her breast. In flight of fancy darting from slim jasmine limb to limb, a juvenile male cardinal did a river dance along the branches that long ago had shed leaves and flowers.

Red Birds Ride the Cresting Wind: Watching a Texas Red Bird

Photo: @renatoghio via Twenty20

I watched them for some time. The cardinal looked directly at me through the windowpane, paying little attention and appearing undeterred by the blast of cold air. Then, as if observing some mystical Siren’s signal they flew away in predestined unison. But the memory will last me through this winter and many more to come.

Later, as the day became colder and ice blanketed the roof, roads and neighboring foliage, I thought about the cardinals and wondered where they were, and how they were doing. I learned a lesson, to always look for the brightness of things when life leaves us cold and surrounded with gloom.

These thankful occurrences are often presented at the moment we need them the most. Many times they are revealed by occurrences in nature that invite our spirits to focus on the ever present abundance of life’s blessings.

I challenge you to look for cardinals in your life. Look at the beauty of the world as you capture and appreciate every moment the Creator has given you. Place your chest against the wind, hunker down only when you have to, and when rested, play and sing and remember the dreams of your youth and the joy of being alive today.

Durhl Caussey is a syndicated columnist who writes for Texas Hill Country. He may be reached at this website or [email protected].