"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jay Wisdom


Sometime in the last few days all the big leaf maples turned from tired green to soft pumpkin gold. As the skies faded to infinite shades of gray, the space between above and below began to glow with the light of thousands and thousands of leaves in their last moments of glory.

Jays, both Steller's and Scrub, are the predominant birds in the yard right now. Raucous, imitative, fractious creatures whose flight pattern is balletic. Flap, flap, soar - with tail feathers fanned behind like a mermaid's tail - repeated over and over until they land with firm confidence in a tree or on the ground.

Mostly invisible just a few weeks ago, the jays now spark against the lowering clouds like leftover slices of the summer sky. In some mythology jays are bestowed the ability to link the heavens and the earth. In my yard they weave through big leaf maples, silk cyan ribbons whose blue vibrance makes the gold of the leaves intensify even more.

I can't seem to take my eyes off these magnificent birds, and something about the explosion of color when blue shimmers across gold tickles my awareness. I've been watching jays for weeks now, spotting them far in the distance with an inner nod to their distinct silhouette. I find myself watching them dip from tree to tree, all of my senses, not just sight, responding deeply to the flashes of blue. Their ratchety chatter frequently breaks through whatever fog of concentration has me in its thrall.

Are they trying to tell me something? Had Bald Eagles been gathering in my yard for weeks, I would have paid attention immediately. New messengers for a new life?

Before seeking outside wisdom, I explore my own response to these jays. The words flow as easily as their flight: happy, confident, fearless.

Research reveals many other symbolic traits, all of which sing power: clarity, voice, assertion, curiosity, truth, endurance, patience, loyalty, vision, strength. And it offers these meanings, which sooth a heart hurt that grows with each new rejection and each new day of no clear direction: My visiting jays apparently are here to "teach me how to develop great talent." They represent "a time of greater resourcefulness and adaptability" and remind me there will be "ample opportunities to develop and use my abilities."

Unlike many of the other birds in my yard, the jays don't leave for the winter. They'll be here during the long dark cold months reminding me of our connection when I forget where to find my light.

And for good measure, one of the primary symbolic meanings of the maple tree: Balance.

Message received.





photos from Flickr

11 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

It seems they're a wise bird, and we should all listen to this message you conveyed to us.

Rejection makes us stronger.
Lack of direction finds us our purpose.
Ample opportunity gives us patience.

I'm learning.

deb said...

When I walked outside after supper I heard a strange bird calling. It was a hawk, sitting on the roof of my neighbor's house, eating something.

I love that maples mean balance. Perhaps I could coax one to grow this far north.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

"In some mythology jays are bestowed the ability to link the heavens and the earth."

This piece did that for me. Maybe I should call you Jay?

Tabitha Bird said...

through your eyes nature is even more beautiful :)

kario said...

I love picturing you looking out that window, watching the birds and the trees and the words swirling around in your head as you compose your next glorious blog post.

Love.

Go Mama said...

Sounds like you found yourself a totem:

Happy, confident, fearless.

That's a keeper! Beautiful imagery too!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Loved this post Deb! Great imfo: !
That bird picture is awesome!!! :)

Jerri said...

"...days of no clear direction" Direction is highly overrated.

"When nothing is sure, everything is possible." Margaret Drabble

Jessica said...

I'm sorry for the rejections but think of them as proof of accomplishment. They hurt though, I know.
What a pretty picture. I didn't realize Jays had gray heads.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Oh, I like this post. Very rich and well done.

Hilary said...

I've been doing a fair bit of bird watching and listening too.. to their voice and their message. They do indeed have a lot to teach. Your jay is beautiful but looks quite different than our typical blue jays. I've never seen one with a gray head.