I love the birds that visit our yard. Cardinals and chickadees. Yellow and purple finch. Hawks and hummingbirds. Robins, wrens, sparrows and titmice. Owls and crows and woodpeckers. And blue jays.
I have a special affinity for the blue jays. Their color is striking and catches my attention no matter the weather or season. But their call is grating and harsh and they drive the smaller birds away from the bird feeders. So, why do I like them so much?
Many summers ago, I heard the blue jays in our bank of burning bushes screaming for help. As my family watched from the deck, I ran into the middle of the 12 foot high bushes like a crazy lady. Armed with a garden stake I pulled out of the ground, I found a pair of blue jays next to their nest. They were screaming because they were trying to stop a 5 foot long black snake from eating their eggs. I swung at the snake and it slithered away but I was too late to save the babies. I struggled out of the bushes, crying for the birds and wondering how I had managed to fit through the densely branched bushes.
From that moment on, I have felt a deep connection to the blue jays and a deep hatred (a word I rarely use) for snakes.
Since that day, a pair of blue jays have visited our yard every morning. They were always together. Until just before Christmas a few years ago.
That morning I looked out my favorite bird watching window (my bathroom) and saw just one blue jay. For the next three days, I only saw a lone blue jay. I was so worried and sad, thinking that its mate was dead. Then Christmas Eve day I looked out my window and saw not one blue jay–but four!! I started crying, threw open the window and thanked them and Mother Nature for their presence in my life.
Yes, a small thing but a huge and amazing affirmation that my friends, the birds, are my sign that God is with me and a reminder that even His smallest creations can bring great joy. I look forward to the day when I can feel the same about snakes.
“Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with the secrets of life itself.”
Yes. Will It Last Forever? Maybe… A few years ago, our Nephew proposed to his lady love. We were delighted and I sent him this letter: Dear Nephew: First of all, congratulations! You have taken so many small and huge steps in your progression to manhood and maturity. We have all vicariously enjoyed your many triumphs and rarely had to commiserate on any tragedies. Your latest life step–proposing to your Lady–takes you to a whole new level. My crystal ball, into which I am gazing, (which looks remarkably like an iPad) shows me your future. I see work and career. Long hours and longer meetings. Transitions and transfers and traveling. Money earned and money spent. Those are the things that will populate your future life. What will FILL your life is your love for and with your Lady. I see romantic evenings and rocky times. Fussing and kissing, …Continue reading →
The Advice I Gave My Son In College: Dear Son: I enjoyed seeing you this weekend. I believe we had some heartfelt and open conversations. I also think we did not complete or further advance some important conversations we started. Dad and I are pleased to hear from you that you are doing a good job managing your time, putting in the time for your homework and getting your assignments handed in on time. You also told me you feel you are doing a good job adjusting to your college class schedule as well as your personal schedule (waking up and sleeping, eating in the cafeteria, getting some exerercise, making new acquaintances, etc). As you have discovered, Time Management is one of the important lessons you get to learn at college. You told me you have several big assignments/projects coming up and you said you were concerned about when you …Continue reading →
My Favorite Way to Give and Receive Thanks: After an immediate verbal “thank you”, my favorite way to give thanks is to write a letter to the person. A letter not only thanking them for the gift, or their help or whatever it was they gave me, but also explaining how knowing that person has made my life better. This act has resulted in my favorite way to receive thanks. My most memorable received thank you was from a group of storytelling colleagues who responded to a thank you I had sent THEM thanking them for being my teachers, mentors and role models. I have been surprised and delighted that, over the years, my written thank you notes have prompted the receivers to write me back their own thank you letter. This makes me realize we all want and need to be recognized for who we are and we all need …Continue reading →
I Stay in the Light: By refusing to accept that our world is polarized. That there is only Darkness or Light. Most of my life I have worn rose colored glasses and viewed the world through a lens of Love and Light. People have chided me for that, saying I am not living in the “real world.” And yet, my world has been a happy one. I have experienced plenty of pains and heartaches, of course. But I was born with my default set on “happy.” In today’s world, which seems determined to polarize people and politics, it has been more challenging for me to find my happy place. So instead I am focusing on a new reference point. It now looks like those yellow signs you see posted at schools or gas stations or libraries that read SAFE PLACE. Where and when I feel safe, I feel happy and …Continue reading →