To hatch a crow,
a black rainbow
Bent in emptiness
~ Ted Hughes
I love crows.
Crows are some of my closest confidants in this life. I don’t know why, but crows seem to intuitively and completely know me.
They swoop into my life during times of turmoil, change, transformation. I consider them hilarious harbingers of ‘wake up’ and ‘well, I didn’t see that coming.’ They’re the first indication that a freight train full of chickens and fabric and carved furniture is about to round the bend and mow me down as I sit in my intractable-engine-won’t-start life.
They squawk: get ready. Your life is about to get blown apart.
But it’s all good.
Oh, and don’t worry.
Years ago in Los Angeles when I first kicked corporate life to the curb and sat in my apartment for a year shitting my pants in fear and sending out query letters for freelance writing work, crows used to sit on the telephone wires right outside my bedroom window, regarding me with a mixture of contempt and curiosity. Whole rows of them. Usually between 3 – 5 at a time.
Every day, leaf blowers would start at 5 AM, and I’d realize I had to blast my ass out of bed and try to make some sort of progress with my life. And the crows would arrive, as if by appointment, to watch me struggle with the concept of putting on pants and feeding the cat.
Often, I would lie on the bed and watch those blue-black beauties with equal curiosity/fear/worry. I’d admonish them:
What do you want, crow people?
I knew they signaled transformation. After all, they’re shapeshifters. They travel the underworld as well as this one.
I didn’t dig the idea that life as I knew it – crummy and uneventful though it was – was about to change, but I knew their appearance outside my window meant something was about to get blown open.
And, of course, I was right. Ready or not.
Last summer on the drive over to find the house I currently live in, crow people stomped and squawked and shouted up a storm. Once we got to Santa Fe, I saw birds everywhere I went.
And based upon their presence, I knew that the goddess of transformation was about to make a meal of me. Crows only come to me like that when radical change is shaking the very foundation of my life. They never bother with small stuff.
Instead, they herald big change.
Out of the caldron, into the sky…
And I rejoiced. Truly, I did.
I’d lived in Phoenix for 11 years. It was time to walk out of that fire, to accept the loss and change and transformation those years brought me, and head to a place where the crow people could find me again.
So, I am in Northern NM – where crows the size of Buicks live.
I sometimes walk the park five minutes from my house and find a whole murder of them out feasting on tasty worms and other morsels the rain washed up.
I’m greeted by crow friends in the cottonwoods in the oldest part of the city, where they’ve stood guard since the 1600s.
I see them line my fence as I ring the bell and look up from my morning prayers.
My connection to the natural world goes back to my childhood; and my love of birds –owls, ospreys, loons, sparrows, starlings, crows — started then.
To me, they’re messengers bringing shadow into light. Messengers reminding me my life’s connected to the great, cosmic swirl of everything that ever was and ever will be.
They remind me not to get too comfortable. Not to get set in my ways. Not to calcify, harden, or forget that life is ultimately about change. We leave our skins by the wayside and walk into the next life-phase, naked, bloodied, newly born.
My wisest teachers, my trickster council, my sheltering wings.
Thank you. Thank you, Crow Spirits. You bring such dark beauty and terrible surprise and utter befuddlement to my life.
I am so blessed to have you near.
© 2016 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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