The sun had just risen on a cold, crystal clear morning. My pals and I stopped for breakfast at one of our favorite spots that serves a daily smorgasbord of thistle, suet, mealworms, peanut butter and, my personal favorite, black oil sunflower seeds.
After a delicious breakfast, I was ready to enjoy the sunshine. I made a flourished circle around the feeders. “Good day, Chaps,” I said to my friends as I flew away cheerfully.
I spread my bright red wings and felt the wind at my back. What a gorgeous day! Not a cloud in the… WHAM! I hit the glass door hard. Lying on the porch, I saw my impeccably groomed feathers slowly flutter to the ground around me.
So this is how it ends. Blasted windows. Goodbye friends. Goodbye blue sky. Goodbye…wait a minute. I’m still alive!
I tried to move but couldn’t. My heart was beating unusually fast. I couldn’t catch my breath, and I was getting so cold. My thoughts turned to the red-shouldered hawk we’d seen hanging around. And just yesterday, there were two red foxes in this very yard. I was a sitting duck, so to speak.
The lady came out of the house wrapped in a blanket. “Oh no,” she said. “You poor thing.” She knelt down to get a good look at me. I slowly blinked my eyes to let her know I wasn’t a goner yet. She hurried back inside and watched me from the other side of that stupid glass door.
Suddenly, I felt myself being lifted off the ground. Whoa! What’s happening here? This is highly unusual. I’m going up to heaven. Yep, that’s what’s happening. Goodbye beautiful world!
The next thing I knew I was lying on a soft blanket in a box inside a warm house. I couldn’t have fought it if I wanted to. The lady sat next to me on the floor and said a little prayer. “You’re going to be fine. Just warm up and rest,” she said. I heard her on the phone with her husband, the man who keeps our feeders filled. “Don’t bring it into the house,” he said emphatically. “Okay,” she said.
For the next hour or so she stayed with me. It was an odd scene. Me, a wild cardinal, in the kitchen of a woman who chatted as if she’d invited me over for tea. I was starting to feel like my old self. My breathing returned to normal, and I could wiggle my feet and cock my head in that adorable way I do.
“Well, look at you!” she said. She secured the box lid, making sure it still allowed a couple inches of breathing room for me. “You sure are handsome,” she said admiring my impressive scarlet crest, ink black markings, and perfect beak. I puffed up a little and fluttered my wings. They work! My wings work! I’m going to live!
The lady set the box on the porch, shutting that dumb sliding glass door behind her. “Well, Mr. Cardinal, let’s see if you can fly,” she said lifting the lid. I gently flapped my wings. Yep, they work. Well, this has been a morning for the books.
I settled back on the soft blanket for a few seconds and looked at the lady. Thank you, M’am. I’ll be seeing you. With a tear in her eye, she said goodbye. I flew out of the box and showed off by doing a little loop. I perched on the porch railing and looked at her. If I’d had a hat, I would have tipped it. May I kindly ask one more favor?
Please don’t clean your windows quite so well.