There you are, brilliant red cardinal, flitting among the dogwood branches.  Of all the beautiful things in the world, when you perch against a snowy backdrop, you're mesmerizingly gorgeous.

             When perfect white snow, your bright red plumage, short, sharp beak, blue sky, sun rays, and stark winter dogwood branches all intersect at a moment in time, it's a picture memory for a lifetime.  Fortunately, you visit during every snowfall, so I look forward to seeing you again and again.

             Whenever I hear a forecast of snow, I think of seeing you, again, in all your glory.  The camouflage of warm seasons obscures you in leaves and more colorful backdrops, reducing your ruby contrasts and sharp outlines. You and snow go together like bread and jam.

             What brought you into my world today?  Mom's bird feeder?  Leftover berries and flower seeds in the garden?  Or did you just come to show off for me, knowing how much I enjoy beholding your beauty?  I don't care what brought you into my view, but I'm grateful.

             Thank you for hanging around during the winter when things are more dreary and drab.  You brighten even the most rotten day.  The deeper the snow, the more difficult the coping with life and chores, the happier you seem to be.  Carefree, agile, lighter than air.  Nothing keeps you from dabbling beauty into my life.

             So thank you, Mr. Cardinal, for stopping by today, in this moment.  May your nest be warm and dry, wherever it is.  May you find the weeds, seeds, and feeds you need to keep your little leg landing gear functional and your feathers properly smoothed.  When the next snow comes, I'll be watching for you.

             As winter gives way to spring, I trust you and your mate the blessing of offspring, that our winter snows and your brilliance may be a rendezvous assured for all posterity.  Here's to you, beautiful friend.  And many more.

 What do you think is one of the most beautiful things in nature?