My friend the naturalist says I give my heart too freely. They aren't worth it, he says. He calls them plunderers, impudent birds, pests that eat the eggs of the delicate songbirds he prefers.
But I am unrepentant. The stellar jays, blue as a summer day, loud as a parade, tilting their crested heads this way and that as they watch me scatter corn at the edge of the garden, these bright companions are welcome visitors.
How can I resist their blatant energy? Each day through spring and summer they wake me, calling out their morning greetings. They fall from the fir trees like the stars of their naming, wings outstretched, pulling up at the last moment, sheer exuberant streaks of delight.
My cats share my naturalist friend's view. The bold jays strut shamelessly on the porch, snatching cat food from beneath the quivering whiskers of my pets. The cats would probably remind me, eyes narrowed, that the iridescent feathers I admire so much aren't even really blue, but some trick of the light.
But what a wonderful trick it is, to be able to shine like the noonday sky, to plummet among the tangled raspberry bushes, eager for the juicy fruit, to rise up calling out in joy....
No, I can't resist them, whatever cats or naturalists may say. Whatever else the day brings, whatever my worries and concerns, the bright jays call me awake. In their harsh and squeaking voices, sounding as if they need a bit of oil, they call out, "Sweet! Sweet! Sweeeeet!"
I smile at their brassy, undaunted celebration and want to call back to them, "Yes! It is sweet to wake up once more to the world of morning, blue skies, and sweet raspberries. What a lot we have to praise."