Were you ever blessed by a crow?
When I was around 13 or 14, I started playing tackle football on a sandlot team. We played in a park less than a mile from my home. For three years, a crow used to come to the practices and for almost every game. We sometimes fed it. But mostly, it was just there, hopping around, watching, and we began to think of him, her, them as a friend. I never had the superstition that crows meant misfortune, but rather I associated them with good fortune. A blessing from nature.
If, when walking, sitting, or standing somewhere, ruminating⎼ lost in thought amidst the noises or silence around us⎼ and a crow flies above us, its harsh call can save us. We can listen, and then silence arrives as if summoned. Other times, the call comes so intermittently we can barely stay with it. But if we can accept its offer, however brief, and listen closely, our attention is re-awakened. We open to whatever is there in that moment.
It’s like hearing a friend call to us, or a voice from a dream, or from deep inside our bones. It comes to us, and we can fly into it. We can fly into a sound so full it makes room for everything. And then we soar on wings we never knew we had into a sky we never knew existed⎼ a sky so empty it welcomes us home.
Or if we allow ourselves to feel the life of a crow, or maybe anything, to feel that it feels life, feels wind and rain as we do⎼ or maybe differently, but just as crucially, and then we become more alive. It’s so tricky to let go of ourselves and our concerns, our schedules, our anything, or the theatre of our lives. Crows can be a blessing to us all.
But it’s not the only call we can focus on. When we meditate, natural sounds like the speech of crows, or chickadees, the rain, wind, or ocean⎼ or the sight of a waterfall or smell of a honeysuckle, or an artwork, anything we find beautiful⎼ can give us something to disappear into. If we welcome it, listening to the calls of whatever we find beautiful can be a wonderful way to let worry and anxiety fly away, leaving a clear sky, or mind, behind.
I’ve read meditation teachers advising us to find the emptiness before a thought. That’s so difficult. And I don’t know how much crows think or hold thoughts, or whether they’re adept at finding the emptiness before thought. I do know they are incredibly smart. I once wrote a blog about 3 crows who often visited my yard. I’ve tried to take their picture. But even though I’m inside the house, if I pass a window, they follow me with their eyes. If I just look, they look back. Or they simply eat. But if I pick up a camera, they know. They fly. And when I allow it, the crows fly me to silence. They reflect to me different shapes of myself, exposing who or what is watching, or doing the watching….
*To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.