Oh, It's Just.... Part 1

Christine Alfery

Posted on April 25 2022

Oh, It's Just.... Part 1

Featured image: Painted Bunting

Oh it is just……

When I was visiting my daughter in Florida. I would frequently sit with her in her office while she worked - to just be there with her. Her desk faces a large window looking out into her back yard. Her bird feeders are right outside the window and close so that she can watch the birds while she works. The day before I had refilled her bird feeder and filled a new hummingbird feeder that I had gotten for her. I figured the hummers must be here as they left the Northwoods soooo long ago it seems. I was just relaxing in her big easy chair petting my grand dog Zoey when I looked up and saw the most beautifully colored bird that I have ever seen. I exclaimed, “Oh, my gosh! What a beautiful bird! Do you know its name?” Bugging her while she worked which I promised I wouldn’t do, she looked up and said, “Oh, that is “just” a north American blue bird.” I am sure the word “just” was in that sentence because the bird visits her feeder all the time. I exclaimed, “Just? I don’t get any birds like that at my feeder.” I am always exotic when the grosbeaks pop in briefly during their migrations. And the blue birds come and go. The color that these birds offer to my feeder in the Northwoods makes them very special.

“Just,” I think again. I watched the bird for a long time. I thought that the bird was more than a “Just.” I suppose I might use that same word if she were looking out of my office windows at my feeders and exclaimed when a pileated woodpecker visited, “Oh, my gosh what kind of bird is that?” But, probably not. Birds are pretty special to me, no matter what kind they are. They give me major delight as I watch them.


As I think about it, hopefully I never say anything is “just.” Why? Because I think of just about everything as unique, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind. Everything, art, the individual, birds, ……. Nothing is “just.” My daughter is the most fair person that I know. She treats all things with immense respect, more than I ever do. She often reminds me when I am being unfair with a comment. I know she had no idea that the word “Just” would trigger a major response from me. It isn’t that I am being critical of her – it’s….it’s just …… it’s just….. that I am being critical of the word and how it is used at times when describing a living thing.

When I returned home I looked the bird up in my bird book. It is a male painted bunting and was probably migrating from central Florida over to Texas where, according to my bird book, they gather in bunches. I consider myself very very fortunate to have seen one and shared some time with it.


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