Never Met a Stranger: Cerulean Godzilla


By T.W. Burger

One of the best and oddest things about writing a personal column is the mystery.

It is a little bit like fishing with a cane pole in the muddy Oconee of my youth: You not only do not know what you will get, but you don’t even know what is down there.

You can go fishing for whatever you like, but what, if anything, will wind up on your hook is anybody’s guess.

I sat down at my keyboard today full of bile and rancor about the state of politics in my country. I planned a fuming, Old Testament polemic about the many boneheads seeking public office.

I changed my mind. In part because everybody is doing it, mostly badly and, at least on one side, with terrible grammar and poor spelling. Also, in part because I am weary of the whole, tired circus. It has become a carnival where the clowns are temporary workers with no talent.

Happily, a blue jay saved me.

It landed on the feeding station outside my office window with a thud. It seemed abnormally large, even for one of its species.

It stood there giving the hairy eyeball to the other birds and sole squirrel squabbling over the seeds. It shrugged its wings and everybody else suddenly remembered other places they needed to be and scrambled away.

Then, I swear, he tilted his head and settled one bright, beady eye on me sitting here in the glow of my screen.

It stomped around in the corn and sunflower seeds, a sky-blue Godzilla wreaking havoc in a seedy Tokyo. It ate its fill and took off, scattering seed hulls in its wake.

Jays are regular showfolk. I remember watching one step off a tree branch fifty feet off the ground. Without opening its wings, it plummeted earthward, only flaring its wings just before impacting the ground. I swear, it was a stunt, performed for the sheer joy of it, as fearless as a four-year-old in a Batman t-shirt, as a recent Facebook meme put it.

My sky-blue Godzilla returned once more, scattering lesser birds before it as it Hoovered up a bunch more seeds before barreling through the treetops and out of sight.

I sat there grinning; anger forgotten. The politics will play out however they will.

But we will always have blue jays.


T.W. Burger was raised in Athens. He graduated from Athens High School in 1967. He worked as a driver of everything from fork trucks to garbage trucks and concrete mixers, has been an apprentice mortician and ambulance attendant.He has been a newspaper reporter since 1985, mostly in Gettysburg, PA, with various stints at other publications. Semi-retired, he is still working as a freelance writer and lives on the banks of Marsh Creek just outside of Gettysburg. He is a columnist for Class in Athens, where he also was a contributing writer for The Flagpole magazine

99 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All