Old man winter howls in rage. His icy breath blasts across the three rivers bringing the deep chill that always comes in the last half of January and early portions of February. As I walk up the track towards the perfect spot to get my shot I’m assailed with tiny bits of ice. Somewhere off to my left I can here the panicked call of a female cardinal. She can’t seem to find her mate and she’s very worried. Instinctively I glanced down towards the direction she’s calling just in time to see something bright red drop from a twig in the underbrush. My heart sinks because the river is up and the male has fallen close to the edge. But I can’t see where he landed. The female is really freaking out now and I began to look for a way down. It’s a myth that if you touch a bird that it’s mate will reject it. There was one other time about fifteen years ago when I scooped up a stunned make cardinal out of the street and sat it gently in a safer place. As soon as I stepped away his mate flew too his side until he felt like flying home. I saw them together many times afterwards. I began to head in the direction of the place where this one fell but after just a few steps he burst forth into the sky like a rocket and rejoined his forever beloved. When he appeared the female’s calls seemed to change from panic to cheering. As they sheltered together under the overhang of a roof it occurred to me that sometimes all you need to be strong is someone who believes in you. Once assured that all was well with the cardinals I returned to shot. The old trestle bridge stood there unshaken by old man winter’s morning tantrum. Perhaps it too merely needs someone to believe in its strength in order to stand against the storm.
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