Spent a lot of time this past week keeping warm doing things that need to be done in the house and watching the birds in the backyard, specifically cardinals.

I have often remarked we attract so many cardinals to our backyard haven that we refer to it as the Vatican. Noticeably more attractive (and, ladies, let’s not take offense to this), the male of the species is more colorful and easier to spot. Of course, I will assume in defense that the females are smarter. Oops, I don’t want to start any controversy.

So, taking a break from watching yet another rerun of “Law and Order,” because we know they are always on some channel to look out the windows of the back room, we spotted seven bright red cardinals, enjoying the seeds from the full feeders or sitting comfortably sheltered in the evergreen trees.

With the Christmas season past, I started reflecting on how the cardinal has come to be a symbol of the season, used on greeting cards, ornaments and various decorations. They have come to be known as the Christmas bird. 

Legend has it that its bright color symbolizes the beauty and warm feeling of the season, along with holiday cheer. They bring cheer, hope and inspiration on the gloomy days as we look to spring. 

It is also thought to be nature’s way to remind us of our faith, with the scarlet plumage representing the blood of Christ shed for the redemption of mankind. That last part is a bit heavy for me, but that’s what I found doing research.

The birds should be thankful to Husband Joe, who braves the elements to keep the feeders (yes, feeders, plural) filled. All bundled up, it was funny to watch him trudge through the backyard only to come in to proclaim how cold it was outside. I knew that and I was inside. 

Also benefiting from the effort were the squirrels, who can’t remember where they buried food all spring and summer and just hang around the feeders hoping for anything to drop on the ground.

Kudos to all the public works departments, who were out there last week doing great jobs. Special thanks to Riverside. They were out early cleaning the streets and sidewalks in front of Riverside Orthopedics on Burlington, making it easy for patients to get into the building. Saw Mike Collins doing his job with a smile on his face, along with his bundled-up crew. 

That’s the spirit! Thanks.