Saturday, 12 November 2016

The World According to Crow

The crow has been a constant companion on my blogging journey.

She was the first one to whisper in my ear, “The time has come to begin working on your dream. It’s time to combine your love of art and your love of writing and send it out to the world.” Her feistiness was a teacher and an encourager. The more I learned about the crow, the more I realized that she and her family had many lessons to teach us lowly humans.

Ms. Crow and her family are big squawkers: they use their voices to alert others in their tribe about dangers. If something’s wrong, you’re going to hear about it. They share their knowledge about where to get good food. They live together in family groupings, and their extended families help raise the young. They fiercely protect their nests. They love to play and can be quite mischievous.

Crows have been known to leave gifts for those who have helped or fed them. They are adaptable to new conditions, and learn from experience. Well, I could go on and on – if you have been reading my blogs over the past few years, you will have learned along with me. We can learn a lot from the genus Corvus.

So it made sense to me that when I did self-portraits (one each time I turned the calendar on another year), I would use the crow as a metaphor for my life: a crow with beads flowing out of her beak was me, squawking, using my writing and quilting to share some thoughts with the world.  (That's her at the top of this page.) The crow dancing: that was me, too, realizing that even if I was no spring chicken, I was enjoying life.

The white crow flying out over the world, carrying ribbons and fibres to add to the tapestry of humanity was me expressing my growing awareness that we all have something to contribute to this beautiful world, and that all our contributions are important and necessary.

When I turned 68, it was time for a new self-portrait. But this one was different. I couldn’t just have this portrait feature a single crow. Call me a slow learner, but it finally dawned on me that crows don’t live alone. Rarely do you see them wandering alone through the woods or down city streets. There’s almost always a couple of other crows within calling distance. At sunset during the fall and winter, they gather in flocks, then fly to their roosts where they hang out with their friends and family overnight, dispersing in the morning in small groups to forage and explore. In spring and summer, they work together in their family groups to build a nest and raise a new crow brood. Unlike a lot of people, crows know they are stronger when they are united, when they learn that they are more alike than they are different, and that they need each other.

At the same time, over these past years of blogging and reading and learning, I have  become more and more aware of the interconnectedness of all things in this beautiful universe that we call home. Our planet is but a tiny speck in this particular galaxy in the universe, which is whirling and expanding and getting ever bigger without our lifting a finger to help it along. Yet everything we do, every word we say, every endeavor we engage in, has a ripple effect, making an impact on the future. Wow. Wow. Wow. Truly, I can’t grasp this, but I know it makes me want to fall on my knees in wonder. Also to bow my head in confession and sadness, for too often I am living my life in a state of complete oblivion, my heart and mind and senses deadened to this miracle called life.

This little wall piece is my feeble attempt to try to express some of these thoughts. I am – and you are – one of those crows, flying out over the world.

The crow’s eye view of the world shows mountains and prairies, fields and rivers and lakes, houses and towns, night and day.

This is our wonderful world, given into our care  by (at least, this is my own personal belief) a loving Creator who is exceptionally patient with and forgiving of our self-centred foibles.

I need to remember this. I need to rejoice in what we have. And I need to keep working, to work for the betterment of the flock and all those who come after. Come squawk with me if you agree. We can keep each other company as we fly through life, working and squawking all the way.


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