We’re all crows.

July 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm (bears, crows, the ancestors, the sky gods)

I have always worked with crow. The corvids lead me to and in my trance work. Even in this city in which there are no crows, they appear when I am attacked, when I take or leave a lover, when family dies or is born. They fly like a black tear in the sky through which these changes come.

When my father was dying and had his stroke, the words he spoke were disconnected from any meaning. Occasionally, with great effort, he could speak in riddles and symbols, and when we solved them he’d nod furiously, fatigued by our ignorance. In one of his last efforts, he called us all crows. He was annoyed at the end by the constant visitors, and wanted time alone with my mother and my sister and me. It was supposed that he felt like the extended family was picking over his corpse while still it breathed. But I wondered what it really was that his elf-touched brain was seeing.

When I go dreaming, there are black feathers and rasping calls. When I die, I’ll crawl off to let those birds pick my bones.

My older niece, who just recently reached the age of reason, spent the other evening in my company, and together we watched the sky. There were bats, fireflies, fireworks, stars. She hoped to see Ursa Major and Minor, or, as she called them, the Mommy Bear and the Baby Bear. And, as she has done several times before, she asked me about those birds, the black ones. She never speaks of them by name, only waits for me to offer, “You mean crows?” and solemnly nods her assent. She tells me that she is afraid of them. She tells me that she just doesn’t like them, that she feels like they are watching her, as if one day they might come after her.┬áIt was dark enough that she couldn’t have seen the odd expression that took my mouth.

Because, really, they might.

The Raven

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