Most days I see a male cardinal in the hickory tree behind the house, waiting to forage beneath the bird feeders. You don't really "see" a male cardinal. The world collapses to a carmine point that puts everything else out of focus — the hickory, the snow, the woodsmoke from the village. For its character, modest and cautious, the cardinal is overdressed. But then what would living up to that plumage mean?
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