Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crows - February 3, 2010

...When you look in the eyes of one

you have seen them all.

At the edges of highways

they pick at limp things.

They are anything but refined

Crow is Crow, you say.

What else is there to say?...

...wherever you arrive

they'll be there first,

glossy and rowdy

and indistinguishable.

The deep muscle of the world.

When I first began showing my spouse how to identify birds he caught me one day saying, "It's just a crow." I realized my speciesist attitude and how far I had wandered from seeing wonder in the ways life brings beauty to living form. Since then I take extra time to look at crows, and at their behavior. Perhaps they do pick at limp things, but my gosh, one day I saw one at my congregation doing it with a stick being used as a tool! Last year I read about a study of crows on a university campus where they found that crows recognize individual faces and can communicate to other crows if the person is a threat of which to beware. There is so much going on that reflects the deep foundations of this world - in suburban lawn, in city starling, in rowdy crows, and in our daily risings full of misgivings and doubts about what this day might mean to us, to those we love, and to the world. No matter our thinking, we are the work of this creation, enclosed in the same muscle sheath as the persistent crows.

Where do you overlook beauty, wonder, or unifying complexity in your daily life?


  1. The first special crow I knew was my grandmother's pet crow. It lived in the wild but if you sat at the small kitchen table, it would come to the table on the porch. Both tables were under the window. It would peck on the window to hurry us along in hopes of scraps from our plates. He would pace back and forth and tilt his head looking at each person's plate and making pleading eye contact with each person. He'd tap on the window with his claw and caw to be sure we didn't forget him. When particularly anxious he'd go get a stone and with it in his claw tap on the window. My grandmother didn't like that. She'd go out on the porch talking to him and finally say, "Give me that stone." He'd hand it over to her. She taught us that bread was not a good diet for him, like candy for us. We could not give him much. She'd feed him some scraps of meat or occasionally a worm from the fishing bait bucket. She reminded us that the crow ate the feed she put out for her hens.
    Currently I have five crows who keep track of me at my house. If I go out the door to take garbage out, they will appear and caw from the tree tops. If I go in or out with the car they will come to greet me with caws and remind me that other species are around all of the time.
    Having grown up with family members carefully observing the rest of the world and being given permission to talk to creatures, I am fairly good at noticing.
    It made studying biology easy and later observing and helping children as a guidance counselor a match for me. I read facial expressions and body language easily and the children read mine. I still stand in awe and wonder of many things. Of my own species the ADHD children fascinate me. Outside of a typical classroom, they excell at many things. If you misplace something like your keys, go get an ADHD child and they will immediately spot them with a quick look around the room. Their impulsivity and creativity may get them in trouble at times, but if appreciated they can produce amazing things and think outside the box to come up with unique solutions to problems.

  2. Dear Sally,

    That was an awesome sharing - your rich past with crows and you notice things around you. I love your depth and now your sharing it with me.