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Cyanocitta by Aubrey Vance

artwork by Aubrey Vance


A few weeks ago, I wandered about the trails of Westbrook. It was rather warm as the sun peeked through dark and heavy clouds. The smell of wet leaves and grass filled the air from a recent rain shower that morning. As I trekked through the muddy, hidden trails, I heard a rather unpleasant, squawking sound. I looked up in the trees to find a bright blue figure jumping from tree to tree—a Blue Jay. I studied his habits and movements. He was not one to lounge; he had places to be, things to see, and friends to meet.

I did some research on Blue Jays after our encounter. Blue Jays are intelligent, protective, and social. They also have odd migration patterns, doing whatever they want, unlike other birds. The typical bird migration pattern I've always known usually goes something like this: the weather starts to get colder and birds start to fly south during the fall months. When spring rolls around again, birds come back for the summer. But for the Blue Jays, that is not the case. The birds may stay south for a year or even stay north for entire the winter season. These birds can pick up and leave whenever they feel the need.

Blue Jays even symbolize freedom and tranquility. Some say if you see Blue Jays often, it may be a sign that it’s time to “take flight.” I want to feel the same sense of freedom that the Blue Jay had. When life gets tough, sometimes it would be nice to have the freedom to ignore the troubles and fly away to Florida. Sadly, humans don’t have that same ability to get up and fly away. We must come up with our own way to zone things out without growing a pair of wings or hopping on a plane and disappearing for a few months.

When I need to take a break I might go for a walk and listen to music, but if I'm feeling too lazy, I may push everything aside and nap. Sometimes I need alone time to reset or I need to be around the people I love to forget about the stress. It’s the little things in life that bring peace and release us from the craziness. When I saw the Blue Jay alone, I imagined that maybe they needed a nice break from the world of other Blue Jays knowing that they are very social birds. Everything and everyone is working through survival in their own way.

The bright Blue Jay opened their wings and flew from tree to tree singing its song. He reached new heights and soared above everyone else. As birds physically spread their wings we as humans can take this advice figuratively. The term “spread your wings” is a very common saying among humans. We associate flight with freedom and independence. The catch is, spreading your wings isn’t just about flying, it’s way more. It’s embracing new experiences and breaching out to new adventures.

There are many ways of getting out of our comfort zones whether that means trying new foods, going off to college, or traveling to new places. The goal in life is to be able to accomplish things and be successful but to do that we must step out of our comfort zone. I also need to take this advice for myself. I can’t just sit in one tree and expect to live. I need to go from place to place like the Blue Jay. This year I have tried new classes to get ready for college. College is way out of my comfort zone. I don't even know what I want to do with my life yet.

Maybe I’m just a slow flier, but I can hope one day I will make it somewhere. I even learned that the Blue Jay is one of the slowest flying birds, compared to others in the bird family. They can be up to fifty miles per hour slower than any other bird, only flying twenty miles per hour. Though they may be slower, at the end of the day they always make it to their desired destination.

I never thought I could relate to a random bird I’d seen on a walking trail but I was truly inspired. When we take the time to examine the world beyond us humans, we can learn some key tips on how to go about living. The Blue Jay never had to say anything or even do anything to show me that we can be just as free and adventurous, all we have to do is spread our wings and hope to soar.

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