Welcome, Bluebird ~ by Marj Ivancic

Photo: IndianaAudubonSociety
I enjoy learning about the origins of things, especially quirky phrases. And so, as winter gives way to spring, and I sit here watching a pair of bluebirds build a nest in their house at the back of the yard, it seems like a perfect time to go looking into the story behind their title as the harbingers of happiness.

Like most idioms, there does not appear to be one, agreed upon source for the saying, “bluebird of happiness.” Google returns results of their presence and influence across the globe and across the span of time, from the Shang Dynasty of China of the second millennium BC to the Navaho, Pueblo, and Iroquois cultures of the Americas. Though these myths and stories vary, the bluebird commonly represents knowledge, hope, and prosperity.

But nowhere in anything I read did I find the answer to the question—Why?

Why the bluebird? Why not the chickadee? Or a goldfinch? What is it about the bluebird that evokes joy and makes people feel as though God, Nature, and/or the Universe is speaking directly to them?

Since the creators of the legends are long gone, I have no one to put those questions to…so, I think that means I’m free to make up my own answer, right?  Well, here goes.

The first thing that comes to mind is a bit obvious—their coloring. In a forest crowded with browns and blacks, whites and greens, their azure hue is rather startling and unique. Not only that, blue is a primary color, one of the elementals from which other colors are born. It has been associated with positivity and calm all on its own. Who doesn’t look upon a cloudless blue sky and breathe a cleansing sigh of “Ah”? 

Photo: Sciencesource.ccom
But, interestingly enough, bluebird feathers aren’t actually blue. That beautiful coloring is an optical illusion of light waves and proteins. So perhaps it was that bit of magic that drew the bards and poets to these birds when they sought characters for their tales of enchantment and charm?

The second reason I’ve come up with is timing. Where I live, bluebirds appear as the world wakes from winter’s slumber. It is a time of birth and hope. The earth is rich and dark. The promise of good weather and fruitful crops sings on the warming breeze. Spying that bit of blue fluttering through the leafless trees is a trumpet call, hailing in the Queen of Seasons—Spring. It is our cue to crawl out of our mental and emotional hibernation and to celebrate living once again.

However, even as I write out these theories, I am wholly aware that
Photo: VectorStock.com
the reason “why” doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we continue to look for signs of hope, reminders to be joyful, evidence that we are loved and blessed. And to look for them every day, in all kinds of weather, in all places. 


Whatever form it takes for you—bluebirds, Bible verses, a song, a loved one’s voice—may you have what you need to continue to believe in a better tomorrow and in the possibility of good!

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for the reminders to never give up and to always look for signs of hope.

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    Replies
    1. Hope is fragile. It needs love and care and sharing! ❤️ Thank you for your friendship! Blessings on you!

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  2. Without hope we have nothing. Good reminders.

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