I spent the bulk of yesterday readying the vegetable garden for planting. I’ve been waiting for the first warm, non-windy day of early Spring to do this.
As I worked, I heard the pair of cardinals who build their nest each year in the pine trees bordering my garden. I also found the remains of a cardinal in my garden. I worked around it all day-putting off the dreaded task of deciding what to do with it.
My grandmother loved cardinals and I loved her. I haven’t seen her since I was 12. We moved to Germany that year and as we were saying goodbye I saw her cry for the first time. I felt a wash of the realization that I was growing up and leaving childhood. She choked back, “I’ll never see you again,” and she was right-dying a few months after we’d moved.
I had written her a letter that summer-the details of which are lost on me and on time. I wondered for years if she got to read it. The house has long been gone-the belongings sold and the letters thrown away in the cleaning and clearing.
Cleaning and clearing…that’s what I was doing. I buried the cardinal at the top of my pea trellis pointing west. I don’t really know what that means but I like him there as a place to finish the journey.