Spring is here, Earth Day right around the corner. We are back in Maryland this spring, building our dream house. I ache to get in the garden, to start creating something new and to watch it blossom into something beautiful. Winter is difficult for me, I struggle with the lack of light and the endless cold. The light grows dim as the winter months drag on and I sit beneath the window searching for signs that spring will be upon us. Part of me aches for summer, my toes in the cool muddy grass as I poke about the yard and imagine the changes that will come. The sun warms my emotions and no longer do I feel the need to sleep as late. But there is one thing that always remains constant, the red Cardinal. From naked limb to blossom-heavy cherry branches, the red Cardinal announces the return of spring to my garden. I wait and watch through the rain as March comes for the herald of spring to take flight and return. Each year, his crimson appearance marks the day I wait for. In my old house, one would come each year and announce that he himself would signal the change that I waited for. He seemed proud to sit at eye level to me in my upstairs office and peer in at me until I had noticed his return as if saying ” Well! Here and I am!” No doubt the guardian of the land, my dog Wynter will not be as delighted with his return as I am. He was her nemesis, dodging down at her an squawking into her ears that he is Pan and she can not take the flight to capture him for she is grounded to the Earth. She will gather her allies from the house, the cats with claws that climb high into the trees and stalk the scarlet bandit. But they will not capture the messenger of spring for he is immortal. A many spiritual people will tell you that a cardinal represents death or afterlife. But to me, he is rebirth and awakening of the spirit. As a totem symbol, the cardinal symbolizes vitality. A balance of intuition, perseverance and strength, the cardinal is said to offer safe passage into the realm of personal power to realize one’s goals and dreams. Perhaps this is true, the announcement that the time of darkness is over and we must awaken and create. Each year he returns to our yard and sits waiting to be noticed and cherished. Constant and a stark brilliant reminder that some things remain solid. Welcome back my friend, I have waited through hurricane and snow, holidays and dull days, sickness and health for your return.