I felt the cool crisp air nip at my nose this morning when I stepped onto the back porch. It was 28 degrees (F) here at 7AM. I saw the distinct pattern of beautifully formed, finely cut ice crystals on the porch railing as I walked to the edge to look to the land below. I stood quietly surveying the scene in front of me and couldn’t help but wonder at the silence in the valley – a profound change from the veritable cacophony of sound that regularly regaled me in the days of spring through most of the fall. I saw a few flocks of robins headed out from their night time shelters off to settle in the grassy fields and scratch their way to fill their tummies with whatever they can find in hidden away in the soil. But these birds were quite a ways away, seen only in the distance. I was really taken aback at how quiet it was in this valley. It seemed that I was the only soul awake here at Squirrel Run. How unusual it was to feel such isolation in a place of such wildness. Of course the trees are always present with me. How I love them so. I stood a while longer, waiting for nothing in particular, but hopeful to catch sight of at least one other creature with a heartbeat moving through the area. And out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of movement – and a dash of bright red. There in the midst of the tangled oak and locust branches was a lone cardinal, looking straight in my direction. My breath caught in my throat for a moment as I suddenly recognized this being. I have seen a lone cardinal near dawn on a few mornings in the summer and then again last winter on a day when the whole world was dressed in white. This bird is another of my year-long amigos – a kindred spirit, and one of my spirit guides as well. I held my gaze and felt my heart melt a little as the cardinal lingered on the branch. This bird seems to be such medicine for me as I head into this season, as it seems to give me such a boost of vitality when I see it. Legend has it that the cardinal is a daughter of the sun. Well, it surely brightens my spirit. I head into my day feeling that though it is rather quiet here outside, there is still plenty of vibrant life out there, no matter how cold or quiet it might seem. What’s up in your neck of the woods?
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