Remember when my dear college friend told me during the weeks after the accident she kept seeing blue jays and having the overwhelming sense that Jack was okay? I thought it was neat because although she did not know it, Jack had always been associated with birds in our minds.
My friend did not know that Jack's first word was bird.
She didn't know he made up his very own baby sign language sign for "bird."
She didn't know we had a special group of birds that came to our kitchen window every winter that we lovingly called "our flock."
She didn't know that I got the kids a special Christmas ornament each year and that Jack's last one was a bird.
She didn't know Tim and I had used bird imagery when we spoke to Jack at his 6th grade dinner 3 months before.
She didn't know another friend would write an amazing poem about Jack, describing him as a "Rare Bird" or in Latin, the language he took at school, "Rara Avis."
...and she didn't know WHY this message of comfort for us would come through a BLUE JAY, of all birds.
What she did know was that when she would see these certain blue jays in her yard, she would get the overwhelming sense that Jack was thriving. She would hear the words "Rare Bird" over and over in her mind. And she got a playful sense from Jack that there was a puzzle behind WHY it was a blue jay, rather than another bird. The boy did love puzzles.
I was kind of "huh?" when she told me about the blue jays beause I'd always considered them big, loud, and mean, not like Jack at all. I mean, how about a cute little songbird, even though Jack couldn't carry a tune? Or a tufted titmouse or downy woodpecker-- plain "Downys" we called them-- from our kitchen window flock? Or maybe a powerful hawk? I haven't told you that the morning after the accident, Tim, Margaret and I (separately) saw a HUGE hawklike creature that must have been at least 3 feet across, swooping down and around our house for hours in the maddeningly beautiful sunshine. "Did you see that huge bird?" I said. Yes, they had. We didn't think of it as a sign for anything except perhaps that our world had been turned to shit,o who the heck cared if huge birds were swooping around us? I mean, if one of the world's most careful kids could get swept away in a creek, I wouldn't have been surprised to see a Pterydactyl land on our carport at that point.
But back to the blue jay.
My friend puzzled and pondered...
Was it BLUE because vibrant blue ribbons and bows were soon associated with Jack? Maybe.
Jay as in "J" for Jack?? Perhaps.
Or was it for the baseball team the Blue Jays? NO...Jack was a Yankees fan.
Well, what about the traditional symbolism of the blue jay?
Talkative, able to mimic (acting!?),
Oh my yes. Sounds like someone I know and love.
Here's some additional info:
"Blue jay animal symbolism resonates truth, faithfulness, and solidarity because they are vigilant in their tasks. They also keep the same mate for life, which is symbolic of endurance, patience and loyalty. The jay is an excellent symbol for those wishing to honor their long-lasting bond between friends, family and lovers.
In the spiritual realm, the blue jay speaks of clarity and vision. In Native American symbolism (namely the Sioux Nation) the azure of the jay against the blue sky indicated a “double vision” or double clarity. This visual/spiritual “blue on blue” concept speaks of purity of the soul, truth of the heart, and clarity of thought."
I've also learned that the gradual color change on a a blue jay's feathers sometimes represents a link or bridge between Earth and Heaven. I definitely feel that Jack's life and death are linking a lot of us here to a there that it not so very far away. His death is showing us thin places between heaven and earth.
All of this symbolism resonates with me and helps me believe the blue jay (like the rainbows and sunsets and other birds!) is a generous and creative sign from God that our Rare Bird is thriving.
But my sister, who has seen numerous blue jays on her runs since the accident, pointed out another aspect of the bird that should not be overlooked --the cute little crest on its head.