Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ameliorating Rites of Spring~~Cardinals’ Rituals

Ameliorating Rites of Spring~~Cardinals’ Rituals
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring 
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling: 
The Bird of Time has but a little way 
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing. 
~~Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat

Just like the rooster who harbors the delusion that he brings in the daybreak with his crewing, a foggy understanding of one’s interactive relationship with the ambient environs may deal a non-too-trivial blow to the ego.  Such has been the nature and extent of my relationship with our holly-dwelling neighbor cardinals.
When I was first made aware of their living in our luxuriant evergreen holly, I harbored the delusion that it was the aura of our good-naturedness as a household that made them pick our tree in particular as their abode.  It made me feel warm and fuzzily radiant with an inner glow to think of the arrangement that way.  The fact that the branches were delectably laden with red berries all winter long ready for the picking hardly factored into my grasp of the situation.
One breezy sunny afternoon in the first week of March the rude awakening came.  A rather huge flock of wide tailed dark brown tree sparrows, slightly bigger than the cardinals in size, swarmed on the tree in one fell swoop.  The scene was eerily reminiscent of the Alfred Hitchcock 1963 horror thriller, The Birds, terrorizing the tranquility of the sleepy town of Bodega Bay.

The intruding sparrows must have sent the resident cardinals scampering underneath the gutter to avoid being physically overwhelmed with fatal finality.  They were nowhere to be seen in or around the tree.  Putting up even nominal territorial defense appeared to be alien to the reflexes of the cardinals.  I watched in awe as the invading flock feasted on the berries with frenzy not in the least perturbed by my presence at the window.
Almost as suddenly as they had come, if not more so, the sparrows departed the tree in a blinking of an eye.  They had left next to nothing to indicate that they graced the holly with their visit, although unwelcome it might have been.  But there was ample evidence of what they had taken away.  

They cleaned up almost three quarters of the berries.  Other than the twigs heaving a sigh of evident relief for having the load taken off them, the cardinals must have resented the invasion because they went missing for a few days.  They had seemingly gone off to mourn the unceremonious violation of their domain.

They finally came back a couple of days or so ago.  I cannot prove it but I’m convinced they are the same cardinals who were there before the sparrows’ invasion.  They seem to be a bit more persistent in attempting to breach the window barrier.  They flew against the glass with a much stronger vigor and determination, i.e., more forceful and more frequent. I decided to lower the blinds because I have been scandalized at the prospect of finding dead cardinals on the roof of the garage.

This changed behavior had given me a clue on what they might see beyond the window from their side of the universe.  I surmise they see more berries to feed on.  The reflection of the tree on the glass window had made them entertain the prospect of another tree in the unfathomable dark beyond.
With the change of seasons, comes
the change & cleansing of hearts, minds, lives!

~~The Rites of Spring at the Poets Corner
Although it may not always work as precisely as it might have been designed originally, Mother Nature has without any doubt, a built-in self-compensating mechanism to modulate the vagaries of her excesses.  Thus, as the outside thermometer by the kitchen window persistently hovered barely north of the freezing mark with an occasional excursion below zero, the frigid carpeting of winter remained unhampered in its destiny to melt away.

The hibernation of winter grudgingly surrenders to the thaw of ice and snow, bringing in the budding awakening of spring.  With furtive jubilee the cypress clusters point their dormant spires skyward to assert their claim to a legacy of poised dignity.

Conceding that life is laden with the good, the bad, and the ugly I also brace myself that the seasonal warming summons the colony of ants of black, red and orange or whatever other hues that nature can conjure.  That they would anytime soon impose their annoying nuisance in the kitchen from sources nobody knows.

It’s reassuring to confirm that the cycle of the seasons still holds sway.  Too bad, the apostles of Michael Mann and his cohorts of Anthropogenic Global Warming acolytes have disregarded such an unmistakably observable event.  Myself being an ardent believer in the inherent goodness of human nature, dare not therefore condemn me if I prefer to join the more hopeful and cheerful cohorts of the species, especially some select poets, in celebration of life’s awakening:
. . . The palms put forth their gems, and every tree
Now swaggers in her leafy gallantry.
The while the Daulian minstrel sweetly sings
With warbling notes her Terean sufferings. . . .

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.
. . .
A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.
~~Emily Dickinson, A Light Exists In Spring


  1. It was really silly of me to have missed mentioning the sneezing that springtime hay fever brings. I only had it every year for at least a decade or so until Allegra 180 came along.

    1. CORREX: I only had it every year for at least two decades or so until Allegra 180 came along.

  2. Let me clarify this point to prevent any confusion on the title: It was never my intention to effect some ameliorating on the Rites of Spring. Rather, the spirit and substance of the Rites are ameliorating to the practitioner and observer thereof.