Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I'm not quite sure why this has haunted me all day, but it has.

As I walking in to work today, I noticed a bit of bright red in the street ahead of me. As I got closer, I realized it was a beautiful male cardinal, lying dead in the middle of the street. His color was so vivid that it seemed just terribly wrong that he could be dead. I moved toward him. There wasn't anything I could do, but it seemed right to move him out of the road and onto the ground.
As I approached him, I also became aware of an insistent warbling. I thought I knew exactly what it was, but it took a while for me to peer into the branches above before I could spot her. But I finally did: The female mate of this dead cardinal, keening away.

After moving her dead mate, I could not linger, for I had to get to work. I wonder how long she stayed there and I wonder what was happening in her little cardinal brain. And I wished I could have done something more.
I'm tempted to write more and explicate this story into an allegory, but I will restrain myself. Let the story speak for itself.


Blogger IT said...

Many species mate for life. Sometimes, although the haters hate to admit it, it's two of the same gender. Does it matter? Is the pain and the longing less upon loss? the poor female lost her mate, to whom she was patterned. I don't know that she'll find another mate; I don't know how old she is or the likelihood of serial monogamy in this species. She is no less a jewel for being subtle in her coloring. And a lonely life in the wake of a pair is a sad one.


12/24/2008 12:14 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

IT, thanks for helping me begin to write the further narrative I wanted to write.

The mourning of that female cardinal broke my heart.

12/24/2008 4:34 AM  
Blogger BentonQuest said...

How do we help people to learn that love is love. We choose who we love just as much as we choose who are our parents.

Merry Christmas To You and Yours.

12/24/2008 10:22 AM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

It takes an amazing discipline to let a story speak for itself. Well done.

In the age of 24 hour news, the bizarre human need to comment, natter and drone has sucked the meaning out of so many stories - or imparted to them a meaning that was wholly artificial.

(By 2pm on Sep 11, 2001, the journalists had nothing new to say and were simply interviewing each other about who they'd interviewed. On Sep 10, 2001, the biggest political story on CNN was Gary Condit and Chandra Levy. Remember them?)

I recall seeing CBC coverage of Diana's funeral - where Peter Mansbridge nattered through the entire service, shutting up only long enoug for the viewers to hear the Earl Spencer's eulogy cum screed.

As anyone who is or has ever been in a committed relationship - or even as one who simply aspires to such - it is immediate and intuitive to identify with the breaved widow in your story. I hope she saw and understood your gesture of compassion and respect.

I'm not entirely sure what my point was - and I've probably just surrendered to my own need to make meaningless comment.

Thank you for the story.

12/24/2008 10:47 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Great analogy, BentonQuest!

Thanks, Malcolm. As you know, I do tend to natter on. Somehow, this event defied my nattering skills.

12/24/2008 11:22 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

When I walked in to work today, I again passed that tree and that street on which the cardinal was lying dead. His female mate was still/again up in the branches of the tree above ... still chirping for him. This is unbearably difficult.

12/25/2008 2:48 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

What a sad story, Lisa, but beautifully told. You did good.

12/27/2008 2:26 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, Mimi. I take that as high praise from a blogger of your quality and fame.

12/27/2008 3:04 PM  

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