Image: Follower of John Singer Sargent (American, 1856 – 1925 ), Resting, c. 1880-1890, watercolor over graphite on wove paper, Joseph F. McCrindle Collection 2010.93.1
It had been another hot day, and I was sick of the heat, and so I snuck away from work during my lunch break with a novel I had started to read and which showed promise. I found a spot under a tree, away from the clatter of the city and settled myself down.
As I did the quiet of the location descended upon me, and I breathed it in, pleased I’d taken the time to find this spot. There was a gentle breeze blowing across me and I guessed it was coming from off the ocean a little way to my right.
How good would it be I thought to sit here every day and take in the world?
I was about to open my book when a blue jay appeared on the grass before me. It landed silently, looked about as if sizing up the threat I might be and pecked once or twice on the ground before fluttering off to a branch above me.
What a life you have I thought of the blue jay. Flitting about the landscape, from one tree to another, satisfying your hunger by picking off the myriad of life that you find delectable then starting all over. No work, no taxes, no pressures other than the need to eat and at some stage find a partner to procreate.
They must have a mating ritual I thought, what does one blue jay find attractive in another blue jay. They are all the same to me, but I suppose they look at us and think the same.
Next thing the blue jay was sitting before me once again. This time he looked at me, and if blue jays had a curious face, then this one had one in that moment. It was as if he was determining what I was all about. I was sitting still, knowing any movement would probably scare him off and I didn’t want to be a party to that.
He came a step closer, and I looked at my book as if trying to appear non-threatening and disinterested but out of the corner of my eye I kept an eye on him.
Then the most extra-ordinary thing happened. He hopped onto my foot, or more my shoe. I felt the surge of excitement go through me. I felt paralysed not wanting to do anything to take away from how I felt. It was as if the blue jay was making contact with me that it didn’t see me as the threat I may have been.
How wonderful I thought. He only sat there a moment or two before flying off. My shoe was cheap leather, and so he probably thought it wasn’t edible in any way.
By now my mind was as far away from my novel as it had ever been. I felt exhilarated; I wanted to get back to work if only to tell my companions of my experience.
Checking my watch, I found my time was up, and I needed to get back. I’m sure my excitement was obvious as I bounced my way back across the bustling street and into the concrete world of business.