Out the Window: A Story About the Wisdom of Nature / a picture of a blue jay

Out the Window

Melissa Gosselin
Happy Wednesday, everyone — I hope you're all doing well! For this week's ButterTree & Biscuits, I wanted to explore my nature observations. Since about mid-pandemic, I’ve been staying with my dad. He and I both work from home, so during work breaks, we like to look out the window at all the life amongst the trees: the squirrels, the chickadees, the red cardinal, and most recently, a family of blue jays.

The first thing I do every morning is take my poodle Carlota out to pee. The sun streaks through the trees, blanketing our yard with soft morning light. When spring and summer come around, I hear the birds chirping and I try to identify the different species. One particular morning, after coming in from outside, my dad asked, “Did you see the blue jay nest?”

“No!” I exclaimed, immediately turning back towards the door. I’d seen a blue jay swoop over our deck into a tree, but no nest.

“I saw two of them chase off a squirrel this morning,” my dad explained. “I think the nest is in the cedar next to the deck.”

Upon closer examination, we identified the nest in the second cedar from the end of the yard  we'd seen one of the blue jays fly in and out (the male, we assumed), and saw him keeping watch from the top branch of a maple tree.

One afternoon, my dad came in from outside a little shaken, he had just shooed away a crow that was dangerously close to the nest, alerted to the crisis by the distinctive squawks of the jays. And on another occasion, two blue jays chased off a crow on their own — Dad and I saw the whole thing through the window.

Dad and I are both invested in the nest now. On the day it was announced that there was a storm rolling through, I was worried . . . The sky grew dark and the wind was strong, knocking over chairs and tables on our deck. The cedar with the nest swayed violently in the wind — right over our above-ground pool! My dad said that if anything happened, he would go out and try to help, no matter how bad the storm got.

Fortunately, though, the little blue jay family survived without our intervention, but the storm got me thinking about the fragility of life. Because in the wild, very few living things ever get the opportunity to reach maturity . . . for many, life is just a blink. It’s hard to feel separate from nature when you contemplate the vulnerability of living things. As a human being who has reached adulthood, I know that I owe my life to chance, to circumstance, and to the love of my family and friends — we are all connected.

What about you? What has observing nature taught you about life? Let me know in the comments below!

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