Why count bluebirds?

When it comes to counting things, many of us count our faults (and the faults of others). We keep track of our resentments and grudges, the many times we’ve been hurt or let down, all the times we’ve failed to get exactly what we wanted. No wonder it’s such a cliché reminder to be told to “count your blessings.”

But bluebirds aren’t blessings (at least not on this blog). In Native American mythology, the bluebird is seen as a symbol of spring. The Cherokee associate the bright little fellow with the wind and believed she could predict and control the weather (http://www.native-languages.org/legends-bluebird.htm).

For me, bluebirds are a symbol of hope and faith. Glimpsing the sky-colored plumage of the bird takes me back to soft, innocent days of young childhood when my mother would point the bluebirds out to me. They were rare and special, and she and I were the only two who ever looked for them. As I grew older, sighting a bluebird took on greater meaning. In The Rescuers, one of our favorite childhood Disney movies, Rufus the cat says, “Faith is a bluebird, we see from far. It’s for real and as sure as the first evening star, you can’t touch it, or buy it, or wrap it up tight, but it’s there just the same, making things turn out right.”


I didn’t associate bluebirds with happiness so much as I associated them with something untouchable – something magical. Every sighting was special. Every glimpse meant something good.

That magic holds my heart even today. After years of growth, pain, loss of faith, suicide attempts, alcoholism, depression and anxiety, disordered eating, and self-harm, I will still take note and sometimes even smile when I see a bluebird.

This blog is about finding my way back to hope and faith. It is about my journey in AA, rehab, and wherever else I need to go to find my way back to the magic. There must be some small part of me that still believes I can.