A Frustrating Exercise

Photo by Susan Crossett

I wrote in June earlier about the persistent male cardinal who kept pounding away on the bedroom windows. It was easy to place the date for that column — it appeared the day before my granddaughter’s visit. Disconcertingly, she was given that room for her stay.

I wrote with understanding — and, I thought, knowledge — of the poor bird’s need to fend off his rivals whom he obviously believed were just on the other side of that glass. Suitors do get sort of silly.

A robin was hitting the other side of the house at the same time but he quit after five or six days and I’ve watched a happy mother nesting quite frequently ever since.

If there is a female cardinal (I see her so seldom), she must be wondering when he’s coming home, because the beating regimen continues. Month after month. The direction of the sun changes. The hour of its rising grows later, but the bird shows no inclination to change his futile behavior.

Years ago, I knew a man who seemed to epitomize the irrationality of this bird. I wondered for how many years he would continue behavior that only upset and ultimately hurt him. Sure, we all find ourselves in ruts, often frequently and sometimes for a very long time indeed. But to offer lame excuses and feeble apologies when an outsider so easily sees the need for change ultimately results only in self-destruction.

I’d offer my help to this pretty red bird if I could. Common sense won’t work; the term “bird brain” came from somewhere. Perhaps I have the ability to catch and cage it, but that seems even crueler than letting this present pounding persist.

I think it would be fun to be able to briefly enter the mind of another — human, avian, or perhaps any kind of animal. I’d welcome a chance to understand his motivation for I learned as summer progressed that this bird is not just attacking a window reflection. It’s apparently more complicated.

I have staked out a corner of the porch for my writing and reflecting (even reading sometimes). It’s like sitting comfortably in the woods and brings me great solace.

From here, however, the cardinal’s window of choice is around to the side of the house, off to my right.

And yet, while sitting, I have watched this male fly in from the left side, past me and then around back to “his” window. He apparently remembers whatever his enemy is and needs no visible clue to continue going after it.

Some, of course, are like our little cardinal as it just keeps beating his head against the glass.

In my friend’s case, his life was controlled by a very dominating woman.

Now, I suspect that all of us women can recall times when we might fit that pattern — some bossiness seems indigenous to the sex. Most, fortunately, quickly grow aware of the fault and correct it. (I can hear my male readers nod a sigh of relief.)

Some men, agreed, are happiest in such a situation — if not carried too far. We all know the “Mama’s Boy.”

I have no idea what happened to that man, though I do hope he ultimately found the happiness he was seeking.

Even our little birds gets a rest as fall pushes into winter. I can almost hear mother cardinal’s sigh of relief.

It’s time again to starting posing for Christmas cards.

Susan Crossett has lived outside Cassadaga for more than 20 years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. Her Reason for Being was published in 2008 with Love in Three Acts following in 2014. Both novels are now available at Lakewood’s Off the Beaten Path bookstore. Information on all the Musings, her books and the author may be found at Susancrossett.com.

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