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Ravens and Jays

Startled, I watch the blue jays from my window. They have no business here. What do they want? Acorns, I suppose. They cluster in the branches of the huge oak, rustling, flying, and leaping, making no calls. Confident. Relaxed.

It is October in rural Georgia. Have they flown south? I know nothing about the migratory habits of jays. But I know that the ravens who live in that oak tree do not migrate. Where are they now? Wherever they are, they will doubtless return.

And at noon, they do. I sit on the front porch and watch their massive bodies fly over the house. I want to call them majestic, because we are used to thinking of big birds as majestic, but there's nothing kingly in their frames. They fly like bullets, like missiles, like harbingers of death. They are purpose, they are terror. They fly directly to the oak, into the flock of jaysó

And do nothing. They take their places at the top of the oak and watch. The jays go about their acorn-hunting. No one calls out. No one fights. A few jays fly away, then fly back when they see the ravens make no hostile moves. Life goes on, in a most unnatural way.