Winter’s Calling Card

If a Northern Cardinal in a barren tree doesn’t say, “Winter’s Coming!” I don’t know what else does.

The overcast, gray skies, the leafless tree, the lovely female Cardinal perched as the only splash of color – it brought that tingle to my spine. Winter is on the way and there’s no stopping it.

When I lived in Wisconsin a sight like this would bright forth a feeling of dread. There, winter could be deadly. If a ram’s horn got caught in the cord to the water heater, the stock tank could freeze solid in a matter of hours. Enduring twenty degrees below zero during a blizzard can feel almost insurmountable. But, here in the south-central part of Illinois, my only winter worry is about the mud that dogs create during the constant freezing and thawing of the soil. That stuff ends up on the top of every horizontal surface in the house. But, it isn’t going to kill you.

Winter means wearing comfy, long-sleeved sweaters after months of t-shirts. It means a hat will be necessary during outdoor jaunts, but the bug spray is no longer a disgusting ritual when moving about where little birds like to hide. It means coffee will be hot, instead of iced and cooking over the stove will be an enjoyable endeavor.

It’s certainly not winter, yet. But, I appreciate the reminder of it’s impending arrival by way of this lovely bird’s greeting.

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