The great love of my life woke me up Monday morning with a song.

It was the most beautiful sound, right on pitch, a cheerful melody; a song of hope. He beckoned me, sleepy-eyed and hair all a fluff from my bed, insisting I find the courage to face another day. And so, I did. It’s not always as easy as it should be.

The great love of my life is Sir Red, the cardinal that returns to my cedar trees each year when Mother Nature tricks me into believing spring is near. Cloaked in crimson, he was a sight to behold, handsome and proud.

Basically, he is looking for love, and well, I have bird seed so, it’s a date (the things I do to get male attention – honestly, it’s shameless).

Surely you didn’t think the Carpenter serenades me in the morning? I can barely get him to make a fresh pot of coffee, much less greet me in song. That may be a good thing because he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

Come sunrise, he’s usually long gone from the warmth of our bed, which makes him pretty much the ideal man. What? It’s that last hour of solo rest, also known as the only hour of sound sleep I get, that matters most.

If anything is going to lure me from the depths of the sleep I’m finally getting, it’s got to be something worth rolling out of bed for, especially when the option to hide under my duvet seems so much more appealing.

Sir Red’s song is so sweet.

Monday mornings always come with harsh realities, like realizing I forgot to put yesterday’s wet laundry in the dryer, or losing the race to get to the shower first thing in the morning because the snooze button is a hard habit to break, so now the teenagers are draining the hot water tank faster than they do my bank account. Then there is the whole reality of working for a living thing, which, though I am grateful to be employed, means I am not out playing – and I really should be out playing.

But this past Sunday night’s sleep, or lack thereof, was fraught with weird dreams, tossing and turning with worries that I’m sure weren’t even my own.

It feels as if this winter has been heavy with tragedy, illness and loss. In one form or another, the shadow has been cast on the life of just about everyone I know. Always there is much to worry about, even though there is also much to be grateful for.

Funny, but at 3am, gratitude is overshadowed by the things that I cannot control, the things that will not be solved in my head in the middle of the night. Yet, there I lie, pondering the hypotheses of questions that aren’t ever going to be answered because, despite my desperate need for justice, fairness and understanding, life guarantees us nothing.

Sir Red returned to my life right on time. It would be so easy to ignore him, to pull the blankets over my head and stay in bed. But nobody promised life would be easy. Nobody said it would be fair.

No matter what, the birds will sing their songs, of that you can be sure (also, the cat will be let out, so fingers crossed Sir Red knows when to shut up, because I’m not a morning person, and he’s fair game.)

Kidding. Chirp.


Kelly Waterhouse