Jay Otis Will
As told by Maureen
Jay Oatis Will doesn't live in my yard but comes from across the dirt road by my mailbox where he makes his home in a holein an old dead elm tree. The Pileated woodpeckers have really riddled that tree, so Jay Oatis Will has a front door and a back door and an East door and a West door and ....
He is a great collector of things, which is fortunate as there must be at least 50 varieties of bugs in that old tree!!! He says he doesn't mind because the bugs attract birds, and he has the biggest collections of feathers of any PIP around. He is usually carrying a bag with him, which may be full of shells or little perfectly round black pebbles or seed pods or crushed berries. I've often seen him trading things from his bag with the other Pips for favors or work that he needs done. He is usually wearing Peterjon's cast off clothes. Jay Oatis Will told me that he never feels quite comfortable in brand new things. Once I even saw him collecting dried angleworms from my driveway 3 days after a spring rain. I'd like to ask him to show me what he carries in the little pouch that hangs at his belt, but he's an impetuous character, known for rude outbursts. If I'm too nosy he might teach me a lesson by leaving some of his collection on my studio workbench! Jay Oatis Will lives each day with an enthusiasm and whole‑heartedness that is contagious. After a visit from him I always feel like closing my studio door and running barefooted out into the world to sample its wonders. He has surveyed the Mississippi River from a perch on the side of an eagle's nest, and he knows firsthand what makes the Brook Trout so elusive. It's true that he has a few scars from his adventures, but what joy and life he has in his eyes!
I owe Jay Oatis Will for the many times that he has given me the courage to reach out and risk an experience or learn a new skill. Because of him my collection of memories is becoming full and rich.
He's likely to have the same effect upon you!
1993, 2006 by Maureen Carlson