In April 2020, a mother blue jay fastidiously built her nest outside our kitchen table window in Newton, Massachusetts. It was the spring of the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic and the 7 of us were living together in a pressure-cooker. We 3 Canadians had fled the country before the countries closed their shared border. Teenagers were sent home from university and schools. All 7 of us were trapped inside one new house without outlets of friends, coworkers, hobbies, or escapes. Our blended family was thrust together for the first time and for intense bonding or avoidance. The blender was turned on high.
Outside our window, the mother blue jay didn’t know any difference. It was spring. This was a perfectly good evergreen tree to build her nest in. She didn’t know that the 7 trapped humans watching her from the dinner table talked about her as they grasped for some common ground. She didn’t know that the tallest of them all, the oldest, and possibly the wisest, took it as a good sign when she lay 5 eggs.
5 futures huddled together in their own impenetrable shells. 5 souls who didn’t know if they would be able to survive in the outside world. 2 parents who took turns looking out for them, protecting the nest, and getting food. 2 parents hoping for the best. 2 parents trusting that summer would come, all 5 would grow strong, and everyone would fly from the nest as they should.
Baby birds, we do this for you.