Try to determine what the cardinal is telling you

The other day, I was sitting in my dining room talking on my cell phone with a friend, Judy Judd. We were visiting about a mutual friend who recently passed away. As we were talking, a beautiful red cardinal appeared and landed in full view in my apple tree.

The belief that cardinals are messengers from someone who has passed exists across many cultures and beliefs.

There is a difference between symbolic signs and superstitions. Although they both relate to supernatural powers, a superstition is absolute and does not leave room for personal interpretation or circumstances. An example of a superstition: if a blackbird flies into your house, it is a sign of an impending death.

However, a symbolic sign is unique to each person and gives us the opportunity to interpret its meaning. A symbolic sign is a message for the individual receiving it. A symbolic sign can be considered a phenomenon, or a “cardinal experience.”

Did you know the word cardinal is derived from the Latin word cardo, meaning hinge or axis? Like a hinge on a door, the cardinal is often considered the hinge on the doorway between our earthly world and the spirit world.

If you spend any time studying about the life of a cardinal, you will discover cardinals mate for life, they are non-migratory birds so they remain in their immediate area all year long, protecting their turf. When they have a family, they both care for their young.

One of the first and most obvious qualities about the cardinal is the male’s brilliant cardinal red color. He has a powerful visual presence. For Christians, cardinal red is the color symbolic of the blood of Christ, who died to give us everlasting life. The highest priests in the Roman Catholic Church are called cardinals. Red is worn on the day of Pentecost. Red is symbolic of steadfast faith.

Have you ever listened to a cardinal call out? It is loud and clear and sounds like it is saying, “cheer, cheer.”

I am personally one who believes in the significance of seeing a cardinal. I’m not talking about if several cardinals come to a feeder or if you are out birdwatching, but rather if a single cardinal suddenly appears. If you believe as I do, that the cardinal is a winged messenger, then the next time you see one who is insisting on getting your attention, ask yourself what or who were you thinking about at that moment. Maybe you were feeling down and lonely. Perhaps the day marked a special occasion, or maybe you just needed to feel someone’s presence.

When a cardinal suddenly appears, I get such a feeling of peace; a connection I cannot explain. It is comforting to me believing that I have just received a visit or message from someone who wants me to know they are close by.

I saw a Cardinal in my tree,

The bright red color so beautiful to see.

Thoughts of loved ones brought a smile to my face,

As I watched it flitter about with grace.

Visitors from Heaven they are said to be,

I feel blessed that you came to visit me.

I also enjoy seeing other birds, just for the pleasure of watching them. Earlier this week, I was excited to see a pileated woodpecker; he was about the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down his neck and a bright red crest. I have seen him on trees down by the river but this was the first time he was brave enough (or maybe hungry enough) to come to eat at our feeder.

As long as I’m writing about birds today, I would be remiss if I didn’t invite you to come down to Judd Park to view the birds on the river. Now that Shawano Lake and other areas of the Wolf River are frozen, the birds have made their way to the open water downstream from the dam.

Yesterday, I counted 18 swans as they moved slowly and gracefully up and down the river. I believe there are more mallard ducks this year than in previous years. There are hundreds and hundreds of geese, too. Generally, they leave for the day, perhaps to feed in corn fields. They return in late afternoon or early evening. Sometimes I go out on our front steps to listen to them; they are very noisy as they greet one another. I often notice residents taking photos/filming them.

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all.” — Emily Dickenson

Question: In what year was Heinz Drug Store established and who were the two founders? (Answer on Page A5.)

Clothesline Conversation Answer: Heinz Drug Store was established in 1929 at 144 S. Main St. The founders were Gus B. and Paul B. Heinz.

Lorna Marquardt is a former Shawano mayor.