O’ What Colourful Splendour

My grandmother Gladys Young – God rest her soul – passed away during my seventh summer. Some days prior to her departure my beady eyes noticed her fingers had turned blue. She said it was due to removing the twigs and leaves from a large bowl of blueberries, but a part of me knew that such were the symptoms of a dying person, so after pressing her further for the truth she told me that she was changing into a blue-jay in order to keep a closer eye on me. This meant that she wanted to keep me safe and sound wherever the wind might lead me. It also revealed her affinity with our Mi’kmaq culture and our unique way of keeping our ancestors alive. To this day a burst of joy enters my heart whenever a blue-jay enters my sight.

Even though these kinds of beliefs are often rendered nonsensical in the modern brain-vain of men, they continue to hold truth in mine. Just because we can’t categorize supernatural encounters into a neat scientific box, doesn’t make these sorts of myths irrelevant, impractical or non-existent. On the contrary they bring much colour to our lives and can help us to process and understand change (e.g., death) in a way that doesn’t remove the joy of being one with nature.

Whereas when we enter into a routinized way of confronting phenomena that compels us to analize, rank and sophisti-size everything into its so called parts, we run the risk of blatantly severing ourselves into an individuality that imposes and/or projects into the world a fragmentation; i.e., instead of a ‘we’ coherency, we end up with a ‘me’ aberrancy.

One of my most beloved teachers from the ancient days was also fond of aerial creatures. Even though he is mainly remembered for his wisdom and wit, he believed that the swans ‘belong to Apollo, they are prophetic, have knowledge of the future and sing of the blessings of the underworld, sing and rejoice on that day beyond what they did before’ in the past. So even though our Socrates was willing to go further out on the branch than many of us would now care to do, there’s also the possibility that he had pertinent knowledge that made such thinking grounded, thorough and viable.

You see, we can’t just impose our own understanding – be it values and virtues, principles and standards, goals and frames of reference – upon that which resides outside of our reach and/or comprehension, and then expect to preserve an equipoised layout of the landscape. Unless we can empathize and understand the intrinsic values of a particular people, time and place, then such boisterous zeal can easily become a brazen tenacity that offsets or jaundices our overall view.

Unless we take the time to consider that much of ‘our thoughts are misgiven’, then we’ll never come to appreciate the transcendent colour of truth, beauty and goodness, neither can we fully participate in love, faith and hope, by which the swan becomes imbued with melody, song and dance. These nine muses give us much more than simple romance, but they help ‘to raise our life high above chance, and to remember that it is a human life’ that we seek to enhance.

Within the tapestry of our ever changing and flowing universe we remain free to co-create multiple modes of preserving the wisdom of the ages. Perhaps the markers left behind by our ancestors will one day become the beacon to a more brighter and resilient defender, if we continue to keep ourselves open to the endless possibilities by virtue of foresight and its vitally colourful splendour.

About Jason Youngman

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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12 Responses to O’ What Colourful Splendour

  1. Dear Jason,

    I very much enjoy the tenets and spirits of your post, which bring to mind the book entitled “Wisdom of the Elders” co-authored by David Suzuki and Peter Knudtson.

    I wonder whether there is a typo: do you actually mean “wisdom and wit” rather than “wisdom and whit”?

    In resonating with you and your sentiments, I would like to introduce you to my special post entitled “SoundEagle in Art, Aphorism and Paramusic” pertaining to Contemplative Connection with Nature, Environmental Experience, Non-Acculturated Hearing Process, Phenomenological Ecology, Situation Music, and Situational Exploration.

    The post is available at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/soundeagle-in-art-aphorism-and-paramusic/

    Happy June to you!

    Yours sincerely,
    SoundEagle

    • David Suzuki strongly influenced my beliefs as a boy, and because such thoughts eventually become our moral fiber, it’s probably why you now detect such a proclivity in my writing. This kind of thinking can also create riffs and biases too, so thank you for picking these motives out for me. Wit would likely be the better fit as well. Will check out your link in good time.

  2. Sally says:

    Thanks, Jason for this insightful post, and for sharing memories of your grandmother.
    When I lived in a native community, I was often told about the sacredness of the eagle and how great it is to see one.
    I didn’t see an eagle until the day I left to drive home.
    An eagle appeared ! It was huge, and it was flying east, in the same direction I was driving.
    It gave me reassurance, since I had to drive through miles of thick forests, with no houses around.
    🤗⚘🌷

  3. Clanmother says:

    A profound and insightful post, Jason. Many years ago when I was 11, I accompanied my friends into the northern bush where we found ourselves lost, far away from the path, far away from our isolated mining town in Northern Manitoba. I remember that we prayed. In answer, we saw a what we all decided was a loon pass over our heads. At first, we didn’t understand, but when the loon returned over and over again we knew it was a sign. We followed the loon that returned again and again overhead, until we found the road home. When we were safe, the loon moved on into the horizon.

  4. Anna Esther says:

    For me, the wind was left behind. Thank you for a beautiful post. I wholeheartedly agree and see signs everywhere of lost love I want to keep alive. Hope you see a blue-jay soon.

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