"Why am I black?" squawked the tatty young crow,
to its mother, who foraged for insects, below.
"Why are you black?" she cawed, "Well, I don't know."
Which did not the young crow's question answer.
"Why am I black?" squawked the growing young crow,
to the croaking green frog in the pond down below.
"Why are you black?" croaked the frog, "I don't know."
Which did not the young crow's question answer.
"Why am I black?" squawked the not so young crow,
to the sunbathing cat, by the pond far below.
"You can't ask me that, for cats don't talk to crows".
Which did not the young crow's question answer.
"Why am I black?" squawked the shiny black crow,
to the crow in the pond who seemed eager to know,
why it was, he was black, and who didn't yet know,
Which did not either crow's question answer.
"Let us visit the Shaman, and see if he's home!"
So they flapped off, together, but came back alone.
"Why didn't you come?" They both squawked it, as one.
"We decided to go, but then you didn't come!"
"And why do you squawk everything that I do?"
"Can't you ever think up anything that is new?"
"I think I am really more clever than you!"
Which did not the two crow's questions answer.
"And why, rainbow crow, do you talk to yourself?"
The crow jumped, and noticed the Shaman, himself.
Appearing like a spirit, with guile, and with stealth.
"To which question might I have the answer?"
"Tell me why I am black, if you feel that you can",
squawked the crow, "I'm not happy, as black as I am!"
And the Shaman just smiled, and he lifted a hand,
and the crow became suddenly coloured.
"It's a trick of the light," spoke the Shaman to crow.
"A crow's brightly coloured, but people don't know".
"Since they live in the dark, then they can't see a crow."
Which almost the crow's question answered.
"Why did I, think me black, for a human, I'm not",
squawked the crow, to the Shaman, who almost forgot,
to turn, once more, into the crow, he was not,
where the crow's burning question was answered.
In the pond was a crow, now so coloured and bright,
sparkling, and shimmering, and pulsing with light.
A thing to behold, yes, a fabulous sight,
and all the crow's questions were answered.
And e'er since that day, when two crows stopped to play,
and a Shaman appeared, and the dark went away,
only humans see crows that are black, to this day,
and crows have no questions to answer.
The truth is:
A crow, being a crow, is misunderstood by just about everything.
Being a crow, it appears practically identical to every other crow.
This is mildly inconvenient to the crow.
It yearns to be more.
Humans try to scare it, often, by the use of scarecrows, but scarecrows do not scare crows for long.
They only scare everything else.
Not being scared of scarecrows is hardly rocket science, for a crow.
Still, a crow may be disturbed by the thought that it is not scared of anything.
And so it goes searching for something to be scared of.
Most crows will give up at some point.
Owls are about as scary as it gets for a crow.
But one crow in a million will discover that he is the same color as space.
And one crow in a million, of the one in a million crows, may come to realize that it is - in fact - space.
And what is space?
The absence of anything?
Like the mind of an empty-headed fool?
Empty? Like a vacuum?
Nature doesn't care very much for a vacuum, and immediately casts about for something with which to fill it.
That something is (lost in translation).
Since foolish emptiness invites in more (lost in translation), a crow may be well advised to search out better ways of being a fool, because without a doubt:
Foolishness is its own reward.
Following a comment to an earlier post, I clicked on an interesting link. This lady offered to read my feet. I was interested to see what would happen...
Krystallia Sakellariou wrote:
Hi again Crow! You know, you are the first one out in my shoeproject! Sorry for not writing back earlier, but I have been busy trying to set up a website for The Dreamdayproject.
So to the shoes. ( or feet in your case)
I don´t know you, but based on the image I would say this: My overall impression: What you see is what you get! You don´t put on a facade, you don´t pretend to be somebody else. In this shoeproject this is in fact very interesting, cause otherwise, the shoe would tell me WHO this person would like to be, or how she or he would like to be perceived.. But in your case, it is like you don´t care about it, it is fascinating, I would say this means someone who is extremely self-confident and sure about him or herself. And about where you are going? Well, in other cases, the shoe somebody is wearing/buying at a certain time is indicating a new path, a new direction.But with you it is different... I would say you are not going to change or take a new path in the near future. (Or maybe even ever.) Your life will be following the path you are already on. This does not mean it will be dull or anything, it means more that you are already on the right track and that you should just go along and enjoy life as it is! It was nice getting in contact with you and I wish you all the best in the future! The Shoewitch
And my thank you:
Squawk! Squawk! That was a very funny and very true diagnosis. Well done! Who would think a Swedish Human would know so much about a crow, just from its feet? I know a fox, and people send it messages too. Maybe it has a paw picture to send to you. I will ask. Thank you :~) The Crow.
And a follow-up email from Krystallia:
Thanks it looks great! And thanks for linking me:-)
Maybe more people will now send in their shoepictures!
It was funny you posted it, cause I woke up this morning thinking I would write a post about it, about you being the first one out!
Unfortunately these days I am busy with other things so both the dreamdayproject and the shoewitchproject are suffering a little... But I hope to be back in business soon!
And thanks for introducing me to the Fox! Feet diagnosis will come soon!
Welcome! It might be better, from this point, to scroll ahead to the very last post in this story. Which is actually the beginning. Then it will unfold, as it should, from there, back to here. Otherwise you may become lost in time...
But the choice is yours: First to last, Or: Last to first. In the end: It is all the same, anyway...
That is how I came to be A Crow. Away I flew, upwards, onwards, wondering what the next moment would have in store for me. Alone at last, while not being alone at all. The Shaman in the forest, The Crow In The Pond, The Cat, The Lady, The Man, The Deer Mouse, The Forest itself, and everything in it. All these things were me, and me them. The forest that enfolded my friends, the island that enfolded the forest, the sea that enfolded the island, the world that enfolded the sea, the sky that enfolded the world... I knew it went on and on, but I didn't know how far it went. All I knew was that it was my job to find out: to see it all, and let everything know what I had seen. The wind sang against my flight feathers, whispering secrets I had never known. The sun turned my plumage from black into shimmering colours that danced across me as I climbed. My beak thrust ahead, parting the air as I swam through it. My tail, long and strong, made tiny adjustments as the sky played with me... The world grew smaller beneath me, and the blue of the sky grew darker. Finally, I held my wings out and soared, gazing up into blackest black. And my eyes, at last, became the colour of all I surveyed. Infinite darkness, glistening with a billion, billion stars.
I went to sit with the lady, in the garden, one last time. She picked the wax from my head feathers as I tried to explain what I was going to do. She didn't understand, and I could not explain it to her. Crows have no word for "goodbye". But I thanked her, and told her about this new thing called Love, that I had just discovered. We sat there for a while, being together in that long and memorable moment. The cat wandered up and understood when I told it I was going off on a big adventure. "I will be sorry to see you go," it said. "We have become good friends." "Yes, we have," I said. "And we will still be friends. Always." "Always," said the cat. And wandered away again to lie in the sun. I flew off to the pond and told the crow in the pond what I had planned. It told me it had the same thing planned, and would come along to keep me company. "Any time you find a pond," it said, "I will be there too. I will never be any further away than the next pond." And that was a relief, because I had grown to like the crow in the pond, and I would be glad of company, on my journey. And with that, I leaped up into the air, beating my wings, climbing up and out of the clearing in the woods, up and up, into the clear blue sky...
I stretched as far as I could stretch.
My wings were fine things now. They could carry me up, halfway to the sun, so high that the cat became a speck and then disappeared completely.
So high that the lady, sitting on her chair, became smaller than a flea.
I met a shadow in the forest, and asked it what it was.
"I am a Shaman", it said. "I have been here for a thousand years. I have been dead for most of those years, but as you can see: I am still here."
"You look like a big bird, and a tree, and an animal, and a human, all at the same time."
"That is because I am all of those things," said the Shaman. "That is why I am still here. To show all those things that I am both them, and everything else."
"Why do you have to show them?" I asked.
"Because many of them can not see for themselves," said he.
"Can I help?" I asked.
"You are helping already, by being a crow," he answered. "Your job is to show everything the things they can not see for themselves. And you have another job, too."
"What is that?" I asked.
"Your work is to show what can not be seen, and to clean up after the living, when they live no more. You will not be loved, for this, by many of the living. But it is your work, and love will be yours, even as you do it."
"What is this thing you call Love?" I asked the Shaman.
"Love is what you create, as you go about your work," said the shadowy being.
"Love is the thing that you feel when you are high in the sky."
"Love is what lies beyond the sky, and is waiting for you, when you are ready to find it."
"Thank you," I said. And flew away, into the woods, to think about all this.
That was how my life began. From a bad start, to a very lucky chance, to a good life with a cat and two people. But that was only the beginning. I had thought that was my life, and how it would always be. I was wrong. Nothing stands still. Everything changes. Even a crow can not stop life, or even delay it. Much as I might have liked my life to always be the way it was, I was starting to find out what being a crow was all about. I spent more and more time, high in the sky, away in the forest, practicing aerobatics, and wondering what lay beyond the sky, beyond the forest, and beyond aerobatic skill... I knew that my time with the lady, the man, and the cat was coming to an end. I was both sad, and excited. Something was growing inside me, but I didn't know what it was yet. I knew, though, that very soon, I would no longer be living the life I had lived, but would be doing other things, in other places.
When you are a crow, there comes a time when you start seeing things you never saw before. When I was a baby crow, I only saw things from where I was. I looked out through my eyes and saw what was out there. One day, while I sat talking to the lady, I suddenly realized I was looking at myself through her eyes!
It was a bit of a shock. Now I knew exactly what I looked like, and it was just like the crow in the pond. I chattered to the lady about this, and asked the cat what it thought. But neither of them could understand what I meant. That is when I discovered that I could do things that people and cats could not do: I could see through lots of eyes, and be inside lots of things, looking out and seeing the same things in different ways. I asked the man about this, and he smiled. He said that I was forgetting what I was. I squawked back at him and pecked his ear. I told him I was a crow. "Yes," he said. "You are a crow. But you are everything else too. Everything... " I pushed my beak behind his glasses and poked him in the eye. He jumped back, turned his head and rubbed his eye hard. "You are a damned nuisance, too," he said.
We soon settled down into our new home, and found we liked it much more than the one we had left behind. I noticed the crow that lived in the pond was growing a tail, and for a while, wondered what it was for. I asked the lady about this, and she said she thought it was so a crow could stop crashing into things when it was flying, and be better able to steer.
I flew around a bit, to see, and found out she was right. I didn't crash any more.
My tail was as big as the crow in the pond's tail. But that made it harder to groom.
I had to really stretch to reach the end of it with my beak.
The lady often helped me pick and comb my feathers where I could not reach, but I enjoyed the stretching, too, and found that it helped me to fly, as it made me stronger and stronger.
My tail just got bigger and bigger!
I would talk to the lady whenever she sat outside with me.
I would hop around the woods with her, whenever she went for a walk.
I often sat inside the wheelbarrow when she pushed it around the garden, and when she dug stones out of the earth, I would put them all back again.
The cat would go exploring by itself, sometimes, finding deer-mice and shrews, beetles and snakes. Once she brought a mouse home, frightening it badly. The lady had to look after it for a few days, until it felt calm enough to go back into the forest...
One day we all got into the car and drove away. I sat on the dashboard, and the cat jumped around in the back. While the lady and the man sat in the front and the world went by outside. When we got out, I didn't know where I was, but it was in a forest, and there was a big house with a red roof in the middle of a small clearing. I flew around to see what it all looked like from the air. When I landed again, the cat came running up looking very excited: "This is going to be our new home!" It cried. "Isn't it great?" And went dashing off again to explore. I poked around, wide-eyed, as I tried to imagine what this meant. I didn't know you could suddenly move, and have a new home, out in the forest. But here we all were, and it was true. I wondered what was out in the forest, but for now, there was just too much to see, around the house, and the garden, and the pond... I had never seen a pond before, and as I looked into it, I could see another crow, looking up at me. I was a bit startled, at first, but I soon realized that it was a nice crow. It was exactly like me. It did what I did, and moved when I moved. When I moved away, it did not chase me: it only liked to be at the pond. That was why, in the coming weeks, I would spend so much time at the pond. It was the only other crow I had ever seen, and it lived at the pond.
When I first flew up to the fence, and landed on it, I was too excited to realize what fun fences are. It is very exciting to discover you can sit on a fence, but there is more to it than that. Once you are there, you can look around and see things in a new way. You can look down, and around, and see a long way. But best: you can see what is going on, without being part of it. Flying is a good way of doing this, but when you are flying, you are doing. When you are sitting on a fence, you are not doing. Just being there. The cat showed me this. Cats really like doing nothing, when they are not having fun. But they like doing nothing, because that is as much fun as having fun... We spent a lot of our time sitting on the fence and not doing anything. It was a good way to keep an eye on the owl, too.
Before long, I discovered a new way to have fun.
Although I could fly, now, I realized that the cat could not. Neither could the lady, or the man.
So I hopped around, like they did, although I had to hop more, since my legs were so much shorter than theirs.
I was still very young, so all that hopping was a bit tiring. That is when I found out that if I hopped onto the lady's shoe, I could still keep up with her as she walked around the garden.
We would walk slowly around, with me on the lady's shoe, and the cat following behind.
It was a strange way to get around, and not very comfortable.
But a part of having fun is to do things that are not comfortable.
It was a good way for me to practice keeping my balance, too, as we lurched around and around...
I began starting every new day by stretching my wings, which were getting stronger with every flight. Until recently, I had only been able to flutter downhill, and crash. But soon, I was landing better, and yesterday, I found out how to keep up, and even circle once, before landing on the deck. It felt so good that the pain in my chest wasn't enough to stop me. I kept looking up into the sky, and thinking: "Soon I will be able to be in it!" But I had to learn how to gain height, not just fly level and land. "Come on," said the cat. "Come with me. I know a good place to practice." She trotted off to the front garden, with me hopping behind, flapping as I went. The cat climbed up onto the fence and looked down at me. "Come on," she said. "Come up here. You can do it!" I flapped and jumped, hovering unsteadily, before tumbling back to the ground. The cat waited expectantly. I hopped back a bit and tried again... Flap Flap Flap! I climbed a few feet, then with a rush, soared over the fence and fell down behind it. "Well done!" cried the cat. "One more try! I know you can do it!" I jumped and flapped, flapped and flapped... And scrabbled down to a landing on top of the fence. I had never felt so good. "Did you see that?" I squawked. "See?" said the cat: "I told you about fun didn't I?" And we sat there for the rest of the afternoon, with me feeling proud of myself, and the cat keeping guard against the owl.
In the days that followed, I spent a lot of time in the garden, practicing having fun, while the cat stood guard. The sun shone down and the sky was blue. I looked up into the sky and wondered what it would be like to be up there in it. All night, I would dream about the blue sky, and all day I would look up at it. I looked at the sky for so long that my eyes became the same colour as the sky. The man saw me looking at the sky and said I should be trying to learn to fly. I didn't know what he meant by that, and he seemed to realize. So he took me up the little hill in the garden, and held me up, bouncing me up and down, gently, as I flapped my little wing-things to keep my balance. The cat came along and watched as we did this over and over again, day after day. After a few days, the man started dropping his hands away almost faster than I could fall, and I flapped and flapped to keep my balance, as he caught me before I fell over. On and on it went, as an excitement grew inside me. Over and over. Wings beating faster and faster, stronger and stronger... The cat watched in amazement as the man suddenly let me go, and I fluttered down to the grass and rolled over like a ball. The excitement! Again. And again. Soon I was falling further away from the man, and travelling further down the hill before I landed and rolled around in a heap. And before long I could manage to get all the way back to the house before I landed... "That looks like more fun than I ever had," said the cat, as it ran up to me. "Is your chest all right?" I suddenly remembered the hole, and as I did, it hurt! I thought maybe I should stop for a while. I sat down on the grass and didn't move. The man came up and lifted me from the grass. Then he looked up into a tree and the cat did the same. "Danger!" said the Cat. "That is dangerous!" The man pointed to a big bird and looked at me, making noises. The cat bristled and ran inside. I was looking at my first owl.
"I have been thinking," I said to the cat. "It will be a while before I am big enough to play with you. But we could go outside and you could play. I could watch you and see how you do it." The cat pursed its lips and thought about this. "Well, we could do that," it reasoned. "It's much better with two, though. When will you be big enough to play? How will we know?" "When I am as big as you," I said. "Imagine how much fun we could have if I was as big as you." "Well," said the cat: "Maybe. But you might chase me if you are as big as me." "I might," I said. "But I probably won't. Birds don't chase cats, as a rule." "True," said the cat. "I have never been chased by a bird yet. How is that hole in your chest?" "Better," I said. "It is still a bit sore, but I can flap my wings now." "I was meaning to ask you about that," said the cat. "What are they, those wing things? What do they do?" I stretched my wings a bit and combed them through with my feet as I thought about it. "I don't know," I said. "I had wondered that too." "Come on, then," said the cat. "Let's go into the garden. You can watch me play, and I will guard you from whatever we find out there." "Thank you," I said, and we went out into the garden, and onto the lawn. The cat raced around, and pounced on things that were not there. It rolled and stretched, then leaped into the air, for no reason. "There," it said, at last. "That's how you have fun. Why don't you try it. I will not chase you." And so I did, a bit clumsily. I fell over a lot and tripped over a rock. Even the grass made me stumble. "You're right," said the cat. "You're still too small to play with." "I did have a bit of fun though," I said. "Is fun when you end up doing things you didn't know you were going to do?" The cat smiled for the first time. Its whiskers quivered. "That's it! That's fun, all right," it said. "Wait until you start playing; that's much more fun!"
"Puuurrrrr..." came an unexpected voice, from nearby. This is what I saw. It was big, and tabby, and I had never seen anything like it before. It sat looking at me, unblinking and very still. But it purred in a reassuring way. "I am a Crow," I said. "What are you?" It licked its lips and considered... "I am a Cat", it said, finally. "I think I am supposed to chase you..." "Why?" I asked. "Because I am a Cat," it said. "That's what Cats do. We chase birds and mice." "Will you hurt me if you catch me?" I asked. It considered this for a moment. "It is possible," it decided. "But if you don't try to escape, I will not hurt you deliberately. I only want to play, really. I am not hungry, so I don't want to eat you. Do you want to play?" I thought this over. Playing sounded like fun, but the Cat was big, and I was small. "Can we play when I am a bit bigger?" I asked. "I am only a baby Crow, and I don't know how to play yet." "It's easy," said the Cat. "All you need is to want to have fun, and then you have it." "I am still so small, that I don't know what fun is," I said. "And see, I have a big hole in my chest from falling out of a tree." The Cat looked at the hole, still weeping and septic. "Ooh," it said. "That's nasty. Oh well. We will play when you are a bit better." And it wandered off back to sleep in the bedroom. That was how I met the Cat, and first heard about having fun.
So now I had a new life. In a new home. But mostly, for now, home was my Washing Up Bowl.
It was the right size for me: much bigger than a normal crow's nest. And more comfortable.
Enough space for a baby crow to feel successful.
In the bottom, there was a piece of soft foam.
Then crinkled up newspaper.
Then sheets of kitchen roll.
Then soft tissue paper.
Then on top: a Bird.
In addition, there was a stick taped to the bowl, so I could imagine I was in a tree.
I often sat on the stick, imagining I was in a tree, until I fell off, and landed on the soft bed beneath the stick. It was a safe place. That's why I liked it so much. I didn't know, yet, that apart from the two humans, that something else lived in the house.
If I had known, I might have worried.
But what a Crow does not know, does not worry a Crow.
When I was very young, I fell out of my nest, at the top of a very tall tree, down by the sea, on Gabriola Island.
On my way down, a twig stabbed me in the chest. It was a big hole, and it hurt.
I hit the ground with a thump, which made a man come to see what had happened.
He told me he was a lawyer, and that meant he didn't know what to do with me. Lawyers are people that never know what to do with crows.
But he picked me up anyway and started trying to look after me.
His wife was scared of me, and I was a bit scared of her.
They fed me things that crows should never eat, but they were doing their best for me.
I would certainly have died if there had been no lawyer around to see me fall.
But being a lawyer, the man had no time to look after me. He was always busy.
He mentioned this to two of his clients. A man and a woman.
He told them about me because he knew they had looked after foxes, once upon a time.
They said they liked crows a lot, and so he gave me to them.
They took me for a long ride in a car, and when we got out, put me in a washing-up bowl, and fed me things that crows like to eat. They gave me lots of attention, and made me comfortable.
That is how my life began...
This is me: I am a Northwestern Crow. I am about six months old here, and ready to take on the world. I have a giant beak stuck to the front of my face and I poke it into everything I can find. I am being looked after by two humans that seem to like me a lot. Even though I poke my beak into their ears and eyes and up their noses. As humans go, they are not bad. I admit I like them too. I am going to tell you how it is to be a crow, if you want to know, and also what I think about things. Already I have noticed a lot of odd goings-on around me, and I just can't help but tell people all about it. So come back and visit often. I hope to be able to say a lot of things that crows haven't said before...