A Spider, a Cardinal and Jumpin Jimmy – UBC Day 14

Its amazing what access to coffee does for my outlook! Jumpin Jimmy gave me the energy to get moving early this morning. A  walk to the park while its still cool and light out. Two laps around the lake, dodging ducks and geese in the passing lane while Bret Michaels and Led Zepplin help me keep up the pace.

Back to the main road and 24 ounces of French Roast as my reward. Strolling back, sipping slowly, Annie Lennox helping me mellow down a notch. Sitting on the porch, listening to the birds. The chirp network is busy this morning, and I wonder what they are gossiping about.

I see movement from the corner of my eye: a small spider is floating down from the edge of the awning. His little legs waggling madly, trying to swing over and anchor on the post. He’s losing ground and I wonder “How much of whatever does he need to eat to make all those amazingly long threads?” You can’t see them, but they must be there, because the spider climbs back up and onto the overhang, safe for the moment. Does he retract the thread, like a seat belt retracts? I can’t ask him, but I wonder just the same.

Sitting in the early morning, the humidity already enough to make me sticky and uncomfortable, I hear sounds I have forgotten from my childhood. Birds, so many birds, chattering and gossiping unseen in the trees and bushes around me. My mind is tranquil, for once, and I wonder what they are saying. But I close my eyes, sip my coffee, and just listen.

I hear the distant sound of train whistles. In this part of the country, most everyone has a relative who works for the railroad, or used to. The railroad helped make this area prosperous. I do know this, even if I don’t know where the train is in relation to my mother’s house. I can hear the whistles, insistent and self-important, as if making sure everyone knows trains still have a place here. It makes me smile, and remember hearing the same sounds as a child, when we would visit my aunt and uncle. The heat feels the same, the sounds are the same. A part of me is still the same. I had forgotten.

I am rarely this peaceful. It is an enforced peace. It isn’t what I have chosen, but I accept that it is what I have to be at this moment. I am trying not to resent it, not to struggle against it. It’s too damn hot. And it won’t do me any good. I know that there is a reason why I am in this space, and I know I won’t find it if I am struggling and fussing with myself.

Just then, a cardinal lands on the big old dead tree in the front of my mother’s yard. He is beautiful; obviously just out of his juvenile stage. I can’t help but say to him “Oh, you are so handsome!” He turns to look at me, as if he heard me. I watch him because he is there – and because I have become quiet enough inside my head to see how beautiful he really is. We two just sit watching each other. I don’t know what he is thinking, but he finds me curious.

He flies down from his branch, and lands about 6 feet from me. No fear. Just lands and looks as if to say “So, how are you today?” I can’t help but smile and say “Thank you for coming to visit! You are such a lovely color. I’m just enjoying watching you.” He cocks his head and stays, as if he knows a secret and wonders if I am smart enough to figure it out. I don’t move, except to cock my head in return and ask him what he thinks of such a lovely morning. His answer is to hop up on a branch in the shrub next to him, and stare back at me.

He hops from one foot to the other, as if impatient at my lack of imagination. What else could I possibly want, but the sun on my back, the warmth of the breeze, and the day to be what it is? I laugh and shake my head; the cardinal is a lot smarter than I am at that moment.

He chirps at me, and I say “OK, we both have things to do. Thank  you for visiting with me!” I like imagining that he understands, simply because he acts like he does. One flip of his tail, and he flies off, to do whatever young male cardinals do on a hot Saturday morning.

I stand up, grab my 24 oz. cup of sanity, and go inside to greet the day with my mother. Somehow, the cardinal has given me a boost that I didn’t get from Jumpin’ Jimmy’s. My joy is restored for another day.


  1. What a magical moment for you. Really enjoyed this and felt peace myself from reading it.

  2. Thank you for sharing your morning peace, memories, and bird talk. What a beautiful reminder to be in the moment.

  3. Love your writing style! This post reminds me of my own joy and that it can be found within—and brought out at any moment with the smallest observation of beauty in the present moment. Thanks for sharing your “cardinal” moment.

  4. Whay an amazing post, you described it so well I felt I was there. I too, love to sit on the porch and watch the world go by. An errant squirrel a male woodpecker with his bold colours. Exquiste.

  5. How beautiful – love the visual imagery you shared with us through your words. Thank you for a great post for a Saturday morning!

  6. A wonderful moment, beautifully described. But I had to go look up Jumpin Jimmy!

    Thanks for sharing your peaceful time with us.

  7. You are going to be astonished when you find out what this post and the other one did for me over the weekend :) I’ll tell ya later ;) WRITE ON!!


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