Death of a cardinalPosted: January 15, 2013
It’s said that when we die, the four elements — earth, air, fire and water — dissolve one by one, each into the other, and finally just dissolve into space. But while we’re living, we share the energy that makes everything, from a blade of grass to an elephant, grow and live and then inevitably wear out and die. This energy, this life force, creates the whole world.
If I hadn’t been peering into the trees to look at the light and shadows, if I hadn’t been almost hypnotized by the patterns in the newly formed ice on the surface of the pond, I might have witnessed what happened. As it was, I had to practically stumble upon the body before I knew there had been a death near the pond.
It was heartbreaking. A female cardinal, freshly killed by the looks of her, lay scattered across the ground by the tree stump where I leave seeds for the birds. I felt terrible, as if I had caused her death by leaving food regularly in one spot. I’m not sure what killed her, but I do hope it went back to feed as it seems such a waste otherwise.
I know this is nature’s way. I know nothing lasts or lives forever. I know she was just a bird. Still, I cried as I continued my walk, mourning this beautiful little creature. I wondered about her partner, and if he would miss her.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
~ Kahlil Gibran
I know it must seem silly to cry over the loss of one small bird. It’s hard to explain the why of it other than to say/write that being present in the loss of the bird feels like an opening, an awakening, to the pain of all loss. It gathers in my heart. And then I look up and out, at the beauty of the day, and the pain is released. The lesson? I don’t know. Maybe it’s a reminder that life is fleeting. Lessons can be that way, too. Learned and unlearned. Sometimes the unlearning is the important part.
Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.
~ Marcus Aurelius
The cardinal has a loud and clear whistle. Whistles are often reminders to listen closely — to pay attention to what is blowing on the winds. In the case of the cardinal, the female joins in on the whistling, which is unusual among birds. This reflects that we should be listening to our inner voice (the feminine) more closely for our own health and well-being.
~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak