Thursday, March 26, 2015
The Fearless Blue Jay
There seem to be a lot of blue jays around our house these days. The reason could be this simple: My mother, primary supplier of bird seed, is away so the fill-in help (me) is left in charge and I tend to forget to feed the birds.
Case in point, it's after ten a.m. and I haven't done it yet. I can hear a blue jay calling to me from the spruce tree outside my upstairs office.
And yet, the other day when I took a whole bucket of seed to the snowdrift-less space under the clutch of pine trees in our front yard, I couldn't count the number of blue jays who suddenly were dropping down from the limbs to snatch peanut halves and sunflower seeds from the smorgasbord I'd just provided. Best estimate would be a dozen.
Then yesterday, I looked out the window and saw blue jays gathered in the tree tops next to the house. There were six in total, the two sitting side by side in the middle appearing as one in the photo.
I've always had a soft spot for the raucous blue jay. Love its colours, love its boldness. It is so sure of itself. It knows its place in the world and it is not afraid to shout about it.
And just so you know, it has a "thank you" call. I hear it as a I walk away from the seed I've put down on the snow.
In 2004, after my nephew was born, after my parents had left our house on Pugwash Point to go to Georgia to meet him, I looked out the window and saw a flock of blue jays fly out of the lilac bushes. I asked my friend Kim, who is in tune with the spiritual lives of animals, if that meant anything.
"Blue jays are a sign of good things to come," she told me.
I held onto that idea after my nephew was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. Instead of saying, "Kim, you were so wrong," I allowed myself to believe that the blue jays were helping me through that worrisome time. And good things did come: My nephew will be eleven in September. He has five brothers and sisters.
Having lost my job at the community newspaper and facing down the next five months which will determine (I have arbitrarily decided) whether I become a book author, I wondered what the late Ted Andrews had to say in Animal Speak, a book that informed my ideas for my 2011 Saltscapes article about the ospreys who nest near our home.
"Those with a jay as a totem usually have a tremendous amount of ability, but it can be scattered or it is often not developed any more than is necessary to get by," Andrews wrote. "The bright blue crest of the jay should be a reminder that to wear the crown of true mastership requires dedication, responsibility and committed development. The blue jay is a reminder to follow through on all things"
So it's time to toss the day-after-the-layoff list of ideas for what I could or should be doing now. Now is not the time to be starting many new things but to be focused on completing what I've already begun.
Andrews went on to say, "The blue jay reflects that a time of greater resourcefulness and adaptability is about to unfold. You are going to have ample opportunities to develop and use your abilities."
But clearly, I need to remain committed to certain abilities and not try to start anything new.
Best of all, and perhaps for me, most importantly, blue jays are fearless and fun-loving. The right symbol for a period of transition and uncertainty and hard work.
The blue jay is the right bird to have peering in my office window, reminding me to work hard on my books, to come out to play in the snow (and feed the birds while I'm at it), and most of all, to believe, with my whole heart, that good things are on the way.