It seems to be a moist gray morning that has come too soon. I am awake and do not know why, but push off the light quilt and head into my dark kitchen to make coffee. Soon the water is hot and the smell of liquid amber fills my nostrils. I take my cup and sit on the front porch trying to shake away the fog from my mind as the rising sun begins to silhouette the tree tops. I am wondering why I woke up so suddenly out of a restorative sleep as I sip my caffeine and enjoy the pink and blue sky in early dawn. In a short time my reverie is interrupted.
Crows are in the right side ravine making a brass band's worth of noise in the high poplar trees. I cannot see them, but their cawing is most annoying and unusually angry. They are probably ganging up on an owl or hawk that has landed in the woods. The band of crows will give him no peace until he leaves this area completely. These home boys own the block and do not give way to anyone without regard for claws and sharp bills. The crows' weapons are confusion and backstabbing.
I finish my coffee and head back inside. As I reach across the coffee table to get my paperback, the morning sleep disturbance mystery is solved. First I hear a tap, followed by tap, tap, followed by tap, tap, tap. There, at the dining room window, is that newly grown male cardinal. He is small but has all his adult red coloring. He bangs at the dining room window flying up to the top until my appearance startles him and he rounds the house away from me and continues banging at the kitchen window above the sink. He has been doing this tapping at the window for several weeks, and I have been trying to ignore him. Except now he starts his communication before dawn!
And now there is a new twist as I see the mess on the window he has left.
I watch closely and see him hanging at the base of the window and notice that his mouth is full of some green juicy caterpillar thing. It is so disgusting I can barely watch on my coffee stomach as it oozes insect life from his bill. My husband mentioned he had seen a similar meal in the bird's bill yesterday So, is this cardinal now spreading this mess across my window attempting to feed his reflection? Is he gay and thinking this is his mate to which he offers a gift of fresh breakfast? Is he a childless father driven by an instinct to feed that he cannot understand or control? Or is he a pacifist and thinking this male antagonist (reflection) can be won over by an offer to break bread (bug) rather than fight? Is he in love with me and wants to bring me gifts so that I will fill the bird's water bowl on time? My guess is that he is just crazy! We have that crazy cardinal gene pool thing going in our woods which you can read about here and here.
He is driving me crazy; well, crazier as well! My windows are now covered in streaks of bug guts. I had planned on cleaning them a few weeks past and I now pat myself on the back for my wise procrastination in the heat of summer. Sun-baked bug protein is just what any of my few dinner guests want to see while eating a meal and observing our sunsets through the windows.
OK. Clearly the day has started with a thrown gauntlet. I rinse my coffee cup and begin planning a battle strategy.