What did you see today?

Posted by Mimi Meredith at Monday, July 9th, 2012 8:19 pm

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking back at me.

Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, from Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See.

What do you see?

I saw loads of reasons for self pity this Manic Monday. I felt heavier and heavier as the day went on.

I know some of you are there...maybe you, too, are worried about the what nexts of life...how will you pay for-who will come-what will happen if-why don't they call-who cares-why didn't I...those prickly worry scarves we knit that we wrap around ourselves hoping for protection and comfort until we can't bear the weight of them one more second. Tonight, I was there.

Quite honestly, I think I'm weary. I have had a year that began with non-stop travel, to non-stop change, to chirpy "I'm fine! Great! Blessed beyond measure!" regardless of the question.

My friend Lori Friddle told me a great acronym for the word fine. But it begins with a word I shouldn't use, even in such understanding company, unless I'm the vice president. So let's just agree that "Fine! Thanks for asking!!" Is a euphemism for, I need a nap; I need wine or, I need to be rescued.

Tonight, I was sitting on the patio indulging in a glass of wine, even though I know alcohol contributes more to one's sense of melancholy than to any beneficial effect we might try to assign in attempts at justification. I was studying the sky and repeating my favorite mantra, "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this..." when a streak of red zipped across my peripheral vision.

Some of you who read my blog post about moving back to Kansas may already be guessing what it was. And you're right.

My first backyard cardinal sighting since we moved in. Well, the first male cardinal, I had seen a female a few evenings ago, but this was the first bright red and (in this case) very bold, cardinal I'd seen.

He flew to the fence where he cocked his head and seemed to stare straight through me. It reminded me of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem my mother used to recite to coax me out of bed in the morning.

"A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon my window sill,
Cocked his shining eye and said:
"Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head!"

I'm pretty sure this cardinal was saying, "Ain't you shamed?" "Really!?" and, "As if!"

Really...I was sitting in a lounge chair. By a pool. Outside my beautiful home. Yes, my bird, I get it. And I am a little shamed.

As if...I haven't learned again, and again, and again, that much worse...and much better...than this all falls into This Too Shall Pass. It does. It will. And do you realize that cardinals, when they're staring fiercely at you, can look a little intimidating? I'm just sayin'...

But mostly, that Cardinal conveyed to me the reminder that I'm remembered. I'm looked after--my going out, my coming in. God is bigger than the boogie man, as the Veggie Tales sing. And bigger than my fear. And it just took a fierce little red bird to remind me.

When we left Arizona, my friend Ann gave me a talisman for our journey. She is a finder of Just The Right Things. This one is inscribed on the back simply with,

We love you, Mimi.

Mary Charlotte and I hung it from our rear view mirror for our drive from Arizona to Kansas.

The cardinal (on a pussy willow...my Mother's favorite tree) that hung from my rear view mirror helped us move forward. It reminded me of all the goodness behind me, within me and ahead of me.

And that's what my cardinal encounter did today.

So what do you see? What is the lesson life wants you to remember? What hurt or worry does your heart need to release to allow you to grow on? You tell me. Or send a little bird to tell me, the message seems to get through loud and clear.

MimiMeredith moderator

Well Rhea...it shouldn't surprise me that the musicality of whistling is just part and parcel of the soundtrack you and your Dad would bring to life. Yet, I can't think of many more special childhood memories than sitting with your Dad while he conversed with the cardinals. I love that image. And I loved this message. "In My Life..." I think of you and all our priceless memories every time!! Be well my friend! And 1,000 love yous for stopping by!


drat - wrote something somewhere and have no clue where it went :) - so i'll write it again - from the time I was about 7 years old, my dad and i would sit on the back porch and talk to the cardinals - my dad's an amazing whistler - those birds would talk right back - we'd spend hours out there and i still talk to the cardinals to this day - nothing cheers me more than having a cardinal fly by or sing near me - yes, girl you are very blessed - you have many, many friends (i'm at the top of the list) who think you are one of the most special people they've had the privilege to know -you've got a beautiful family (as evidenced in your pictures and stories) - and you're right, "this too shall pass" is definitely the mantra to live by - i'm so happy to read your blog and "keep up with you" - hopefully we'll be seeing each other face-to-face soon - in the meantime, many hugs and much love and KNOW that you're blessed


Beautiful story, Mimi. I hope everything starts to improve for you after this fateful encounter..."this too shall pass" are definitely words to live by! 

MimiMeredith moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @annedreshfield They absolutely are. Those words, and my Dad's sage advice, "Get a good night's sleep and it will all look better in the morning." So true! Thank you, Anne!


Oh, Mimi, it hurts my heart that you are having days like this, even if you do manage to pull up the inner resources to rise above it. I am reminded of the book title that came out some thirty years ago "Why do bad things happen to good people?" There is no satisfactory answer, of course, but there's no doubt that our character is forged more in the hard times than the easy ones. That doesn't have to mean we have to like it...it just means there is hope!


God has often used Nature to give me a hug: a bird, a butterfly, a dragonfly, a rainbow. Those moments of grace are so precious.


Call me any time...

MimiMeredith moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @RiverwoodWriter Elizabeth, I think that is so true...beauty is all around but in times when pressure or worries make us huddle around our own concerns, we miss the harbingers of hope that Nature sends to comfort us and lift us up. Luckily, my cardinal was bright red and unmistakeable! Thank you so much for your steadfast support, my friend! Each day is a reminder of all that is good. I just received this link from a dear friend and it absolute rallied my Mimi Moxie!



Hey, we have a bird feeder hanging from a tree off our back porch and see Cardinals quite frequently; it has become my wife's favorite bird. I'm sure we will keep seeing them because they are nesting in a tree next door.


Hang in there; you can do it.........


Good to see/hear from you. 

MimiMeredith moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @bdorman264 Bill, I should share bird watching notes with your wife! How fun to have a cardinal family next door. I understand suet and sunflower seeds are their favorite ;)! Thanks for the encouraging worrds!