As a child I remember looking out the sliding glass door into my grandparents' pristine backyard, with perfect green grass and well-tended rose bushes and lilacs and snowballs. An adult points out a noisy bossy bird. Blue Jay. Hurts other birds. Not a good bird. Don't want that sort of bird in your yard.
As a teenager, I moved all over the country and later settled back here. As an adult, I became a birder. I started a list of the birds I'd seen. When I'd seen them. Where. I started loving birds, their inexhaustible hope and courage.
One day, one summer day about two or three years ago, I glanced out my kitchen window and saw a large beautiful blue bird with a crest like a cardinal. I wasn't sure what it was, and I opened my field guide.
My God, I thought, that's a blue jay.
I hadn't seen one, since that afternoon looking out that other window in another life. Not in decades.
West Nile, friends informed me. The virus that scared all of us with really no good reason, should have scared jays and crows. Those blue jays I never saw, the whole time I was starting to notice birds, had started to return. It is hard to be a bird. Not only do neighborhood cats and fast moving cars and bad weather kill you, but now a virus? And yet, they returned. Maybe they are immune now. Maybe West Nile has ceased to be such a problem? I don't know.
It made me wonder what brings something back, what makes a species, or a
person, turn a corner and try again. What makes us get back up against all odds and live again and love again? Even if we are nasty noisy bossy birds no one wants in their yards?
Again with the inexhaustible hope