It’s amazing, or so he thought, how the tools of creation can also destroy.

His eyes planted on the melting landscape, fresh water that gives life but can also drown it. The smiling sun casting a net over the sleeping village can warm tired bones or burn naked skin.

The birds have escaped to the South, but a hardy cardinal sits oblivious in the bush. How many worms has he devoured? How many chicks has he sired? His blazing red is etched against a monochrome backdrop, like fire from a finger prick or blood on a mountaintop.

What does he think of spring, this winter bird which seeks no escape? But ah, how the evergreens whisper different songs between the warm and bitter winds. But sing they must.

He cradles himself in an overcoat and takes Buddy for a walk. His paws slop and slip on the haphazard ice. Squinting toward the sun, he sees the cardinal take flight.

Can I fly too?

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