Things are never as they seem.

Blue Jays are not blue. Their feathers do not have blue pigment; refracted sunlight casts blue light. Their blue coloration is the result of light interference due to the internal feather structure. If a feather is crushed, the blue disappears as the structure is destroyed. This is referred to as structural coloration.

Things are never as they seem. Even when they seem straightforward.

After my mom died four months ago, my husband was in our backyard watching our dogs, saying to the earth, air–whatever, that he missed my mom. A blue jay landed next to his left foot and stayed there pecking around looking at him. It stayed a long while. I was getting a glass of water at the kitchen sink thinking the same thing when a blue jay landed on the tree outside. It too stayed a while. When I ask my mother questions now, a blue jay more often than not, lands nearby. Prior to my mom passing away, we did not see blue jays on our property. Makes me wonder what makes up our structural coloration or constitution after we move on.

Things are never as they seem.

Purple Finches are not purple. The Latin name “purpureus” means crimson or other reddish color. And the female is entirely brown.

Things are never as they seem. Even when they seem straightforward

Yesterday morning a female purple finch hit our plate glass window. The bird fell, stunned, to the deck below.  It flattened me. It doesn’t take much these days, but still. It was the second bird that morning. The first had flown on unharmed and I’d thought it a singular event. The second crash made me feel somehow responsible I’d not taken action after the first. I began sobbing, ran outside in my nightclothes (still on despite it being midday) to see if she was okay. Two of her digits off the right tarsometatarsus looked rather mangled. She kept trying to walk and falling over on her white-speckled breast. It was crushing. I picked her up in my paper towel, stayed with her for an hour twisting her digits back around, gently stroking the mesh of shiny brown feathers until her eyes closed from a bright yellow beaded double-tiered under-brow up. The opposite to ours. I laid down beside her while she rested begging god, or an angel or my mom’s spirit–somebody, somewhere to please help this creature, to make her well. I was scared for her. And me. Eventually, her digits realigned . She flew away.

What if death is not as it seems?