Big Red

Don’t tell the Carpenter, but my boyfriend is back. 

He showed up a few weeks ago, as if on cue. Now, every morning, around the time my husband’s truck pulls out of the driveway, my boyfriend makes his presence known outside my bedroom window. Cheeky fella. 

Relax. This love affair is not the home-wrecking kind. It’s an innocent flirtation with Big Red, our resident cardinal. It’s harmless because, let’s face it, a bird can’t wear a tool belt or bring home chip dip when I’ve had a hard day, though in all honesty, if he’d finish a home renovation project, I’d let him in the window. What? Maybe he’s a plumber. I need one. 

It’s been a long winter. I needed a sign, confirmation that spring was going to show up. I was starting to think Big Red wouldn’t return. The chickadees are sweet, blue jays are aggressive and the first fat robin spotted in the yard made me happy, but it wasn’t until Big Red landed atop my backyard cedars, with his rich crimson pride on full display, accented by his black mask and orange beak like a beacon of optimism, that I felt in my heart of hearts that better days were ahead. 

Big Red sings all morning long. It’s the first sound I hear after my alarm clock startles me into consciousness. 

From the moment I slap the snooze button until the alarm sounds again, I lie there in the early light of day and listen for his notes and no matter what anxieties have tried to invade my not-even-awake-yet brain, I am in tune with a song that reminds me all the worries in the world won’t stop what nature intends. 

That’s life. You can worry yourself to sickness or you can surrender to the fact that you aren’t in control as much as you like to believe you are, so just shut off the internal noise and listen to life continuing on outside your window. 

Sometimes, I go to the back door and whistle back at him. We perform a call and response duet that is in harmony with our souls. Or, as the Carpenter concludes, the bird is politely and repeatedly telling me to close my pink fuzzy bathrobe and get inside before the neighbours see me (apologies to the neighbours).

I know that soon the yard will be full of wildlife (not because of the whole bathrobe incident) and Big Red will move on to new vistas. That Casanova has surely got a tune for others, in particular, a reddish-brown tartlet with a bright orange beak that seems intent on hanging around. Maybe she’s hoping he is a plumber too. 

I’m grateful Big Red brings me a sign every spring that reassures me that each new day has potential if I just stop the noise in my head and listen to the chorus of nature – even just for a minute or two. 

Pay attention to the fact that no matter what happens, life carries on and there is beauty in that song. But seriously, about that plumber …

WriteOut of Her Mind