I heard her calling to her mate this morning. The call so familiar to me that it always sends me outside searching for a flash of red. Cardinals have been especially meaningful to me for the past 3 years.
It was 3 years ago when I first heard the call of a cardinal. I was standing at the bus stop with my daughter and we heard a bird calling above our heads. We looked up into the twisted branches of one of the old Live Oaks that filled the landscape. There he was, in all his bright, red glory. A male cardinal. In all my years in Florida, I had never seen one there. I associated them with my visits to Virginia, where my in-laws lived.
We were in the midst of chaos at the time. Recovering from the grief of my father-in-law passing, the shock of our son’s injury, and wrestling with whether or not to move closer to my mother-in-law.
A few days later, a male cardinal (I have to think the same one) would get into our screened patio. At the time I didn’t know that cardinals are considered symbolic, but it felt like a sign from God to me. Cardinals are the state bird of Virginia. Moving from my home state was a big deal and I wanted to be sure that we were listening to God.
We would end up moving shortly thereafter. The transition here has not been smooth and there have been plenty of stressful situations. In those moments when I really begin to wonder if I’m still on God’s path from my life, a cardinal will fly across the roadway of my drive or dart into my backyard. It gives me hope that I am indeed listening.
So when I heard the call today, I stepped onto my back porch. They were calling back and forth. I could hear that one was very close. I was peering up into the tall branches of the trees. Yet, it sounded closer. Right beside the porch is a holly. I have been tempted to cut it since it doesn’t get red berries and is just tall and sharp. I peered all around it and there she was. Mama cardinal sitting in her nest, protecting her future offspring. I could barely capture the photo due to the dense nature of the plant.