I just spent a moment taking in the beauty of this female Northern Cardinal.
I took in and studied her feather patterns, how her feathers lay this way and that, but with purpose in every turn. I caught little hints of red above her eye and the tiny feather tufts circling her eye. I imagined the different feel of the stiff feathers around the edge of her garish orange beak, and followed the transition of her tan feathers into a dusky, duller brown as they cross her shoulder. Her scarlet crest, instead of standing tall and alert is barely raised.
The female cardinal is not just the un-red cardinal. She is a treasure herself, each feature of her subtle beauty waiting to be discovered, enjoyed, and then heralded with the same passion afforded her brilliantly colored mate.
Thanks to Andy Todzia for providing permission to use his gorgeous image.