Cardinal passes

For some weeks, the little female cardinal had flown about the eave feeders with great familiarity, but one day it flew violently against a window pane and died. The neck was broken instantly from the terrible thud. A moment before so vibrant and attentive: sleek gray wings streaked with red, bright clean beak of orange-yellow, clever darting eyes sensing everything — now all stilled. In death one could hold the little bird as one could not in life. Its tiny eyes were closed, its wings pulled close, legs dangling, warmth still glowing like fading embers in a hearth. We buried it where a fellow bird had struck a pane sometime ago (now the panes have spider web decals), buried next to a single daisy that blooms as it will throughout the seasons, sometimes in two flowers. Returning to the house a cardinal chirped and fluttered, perhaps looking for its mate, its friend, its sister. May it be solaced, and may it sing the dawn and dusk, saluting the short and beautiful life that is the fate of all of us.