a brilliant red that blends

in the three years since i have been doing STILL, i have previously found only a single cardinal feather. they are either especially tricky to spot or cardinals are lonely and reclusive molters. but yesterday on a walk with my friend kris along sucker lake, the faintest reddish glimmer in the grass materialized into a single battered cardinal feather. something about the feather seemed to speak of struggle, so the two of us clipped on our csi badges, and, over the course of a 10 minute investigation, painstakingly gathered the forensic evidence above. the evidence all pointed to a cardinal’s having had a very bad day in that spot. my feather collector’s elation at such a find couldn’t quite outweigh my birdlover’s remorse that something as ethereally beautiful as a male cardinal had ended as somebody else’s meal. i hope the tattered dignity of what remained of him does him justice.

cardinal feathers from a single bird

sucker lake regional trail, saint paul,  minnesota

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