They arrive between Thanksgiving and Christmas to cheer up the holidays, though their colors are hardly festive. On arrival for their winter stay, they seem like nondescript little birds with only some subtle wing bars that verify they are goldfinches. Through the early spring they gradually brighten to their brilliant namesake plumage with a dozen or more jostling for space at the feeder. Then one day, suddenly they are gone, heading for their northern nesting grounds, not to return until the next holiday season.
We miss them, but their memories brighten our summer and fall seasons until once again they show up, one or two at a time, to help us celebrate the holidays.