Now that the weather has gotten nice, I am working in our gazebo. Ten feet away, in the lower branches of a blue spruce, a northern cardinal sits atop her nest of eggs. (I cannot see the eggs, but I see the nest and the fact that she just sits there, and it’s that time of year . . .)

The husband cardinal shows up every once in a while to defend the nest or put a bug in her mouth, but he’s also gone for long periods of time. Sometimes I see him 50 yards away in the willow tree, not doing much of anything.

The wife cardinal says a lot of things—a combination, usually, of down-slurred whistles, chirps, and a long trill. Listening to her all day, I am starting two understand what she is saying:

“One measly bug? Seriously? What the heck are you even doing all day? I am sitting here motionless on these eggs while you galavant around the back yard.”

“Don’t think I didn’t see you talking to that robin!”

“A squirrel jumped on the trunk of the tree and I had to chirp really loud. Where the heck were you?”

And so on.

But in all seriousness, I hope that my presence in the gazebo isn’t scaring him, making him reluctant to bring her the food she needs.