I recently saw a painting of Persephone, the Goddess of Springtime. She was awakening under the soil, stretching up to break through the earth with flowers and leaves. It was supposed to be reassuring: see! Spring is almost here. Well, Persephone apparently hit the snooze button. There is so much snow here that if we get more no one knows where to put it. Classes at my university have been repeatedly canceled or delayed for bad weather. The rotator cuff tears in my shoulder are not getting any better with all the shoveling. People walk around grumbling.
And then yesterday I saw it. I was sitting on the couch, looking absently out through my glass door. Outside the door is barren whiteness of seemingly endless snow. My garden fence is buried under drifts. The bare branches of the lilac trees stretch upward against a grey sky. Sitting on one of the branches was a male cardinal.
He was bright red, brilliant against the stark landscape. The cardinal began to sing. Was he calling his mate? Was he the first sign of Spring? I know cardinals don’t migrate but I wanted to believe that this beautiful visitor meant a change in the weather. I wanted a picture of him. So I grabbed for my camera. By the time I got to the door, he was gone, of course.
I saw him later, flying above the snow. And today was the first above freezing day since I don’t know when. Slush! Melting snow! Woo hoo! I checked the weather forecast, hoping for more. We are under a winter storm warning. Persephone went back to bed.