Gratitude Sunday: Crow Song

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark when neither is attended.”
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act V, scene 1, line 102

Sunday Haiku
Shiny black feather,
raven or crow fallen, wild
altar offering.

Sunday Musings
The son called me “crazy crow lady” this week. I was standing in the back yard trying to imitate the caw sound they make. I don’t sound much like them; I will, however, accept the moniker. It’s as good as any. Maybe he bestowed me with my native name, though his emphasis was likely on the “crazy” part. I was born on land a few miles from here as the crow flies, so I am a native oregonian-american.

I am fond of crows. Crows, being crows, aren’t fond of me. I’m big, and slow, and ruffly, and clumsy, so very un-crow-like. Hwell, perhaps the loud strident voice is similar.

I have this little corner of earth I call mine. I pay for it. I throw money at it with the frequency of dust and rainwater and sun radiation. This space, this place, just short of a quarter acre, every wild and messy inch of it, is mine to navigate, to nurture, or to neglect. I’m a natural woman in that I don’t use many chemicals in my household, on my body, or my land, but while I’m nature oriented, I’m not particularly nature savvy. I’m haphazardly natural with a random regard to hazard.

I’m not much of a nature girl in the outdoor world. I don’t care for horses, have my reservations about cows, goats, and chickens, turkeys and geese are absolutely scary, and I use caution even with my own “domesticated” cats and dogs as I’ve been hurt by both. It’s not like any of these critters can tell you in so many words you are doing something they don’t like.

I dislike spiders and snakes, and can’t garden without gloves for fear of touching something creepy or crawly or slimy or something that will sting or bite. I love to walk barefoot but have had so many bee stings, wood slivers, blackberry prickles, stone bruises, and cuts from sharp rocks, I fear to tread any path unshod. I don’t like pain.

I do like green. And fresh air. And light breezes. And the smell of freshly dug soil, or newly mowed grass. And caressing misty rain, even downpours. Sitting under a tree, opening oneself to the sights and sounds of nature, can be soothing if not healing. If nothing else nature can, at least momentarily, take one outside oneself to connect with the largess of the universe around us, the universe that is just outside our door, and the galaxies it contains and in which we are contained.

I’m not convinced healing takes place once trauma has been experienced. What is healing, exactly? One can move past, or beyond, or forward, but one carries trauma forever; some of us never forget. A significant trauma happened for me three years ago, the culmination of a years-long trauma situation. It was not a physical violation, but mental abuses have their own special quality of damage, like having to re-develop an ability to trust, which might not ever happen. I don’t know what I am working on: healing, forgetting, letting go, trusting; it’s complicated and confusing; sometimes it’s just about getting through the day. Only time passes, and perhaps there is no healing that takes place, merely the distance of time between the distressing event and this current moment. So many things in this current moment can trigger all the feelings of that original trauma as if the past event is here right now again. That doesn’t sound or feel much like healing.

Forgiveness is another elemental question of healing. Is it really important to forgive the person/s who caused a trauma for you? I’m not sure they should be forgiven; they did a bad thing and they need to own what they did; I have no control over their delusions of what they think they did. I can change my attitude or understanding or surmising about why they did that bad thing, but I’m not sure they are worthy of being forgiven for their destructive actions.

Part of healing is forgiving oneself. That part I can control. If you did something wrong or bad forgiving yourself might go pretty easily or not, depending on how you accept responsibility. If you didn’t do anything wrong, you might struggle more with self-forgiving, and one must avoid the “Why me?” trap. One might have to change one’s perception, if the situation was not your fault, or responsibility. I’ve mastered owning my own behavior and actions; I still cannot fathom the behavior and actions of others.

I doubt crows think about fault or responsibility or healing.

To change my perceptions, which are being aggravated right now by an incompetent, ignorant, illegitimate president whose behavior is much like the aggressors who caused me damage, I’ve been trying to focus on what matters in this life, in my life.

Next to my local aquatic center is a residence hall for our local university which can be viewed through large south-facing picture windows. The hall has a steeply pitched, ridged metal roof with a wide gutter at the bottom edge of the roof. Around the aquatic center is a small park-like area with a varied dozen trees next to a small splash pad, a lovely area for parties. The center thoughtfully installed nearly floor to ceiling windows on three sides of the building; it gives the illusion of swimming outside with the luxury of a protected year-round indoor facility.

A family of crows finds the trees and the gutter of the residence hall to be rich pickings. As I exercise in the pool I watch them fly between gutter and trees, sometimes as pairs, synchronized. In the autumn when we have more rain, the gutters thrive with smaller wild life and the crows eat their fill. The last two years when the roof is wet I’ve seen the crows fly about half way up the roof, land on the wet metal, then slippery slide down the slope of the roof, and fly back up. They are not eating anything on the slide down; you know they are playing because they repeat the action many times. Then again, maybe they are sharpening their talons. It’s hard to say who is having more fun, them playing or me watching.

Summer helps, and except for a handful of hot days, it’s been a mild, tolerable summer here. I can open my doors and windows to let fresh air flow through my house. I step outside every morning and several times a day, especially when I’m having a day when I can’t walk around the block. I stand outside and fill my eyes with green: the grass, the moss on the fence, the neighbor’s trees. Each has a different smell, and I take that in as well. One can smell the time of day: morning, noon, and night have different odors; rain, lightning, and snow have their own individual fragrances, and it’s oddly comforting to be able to identify these things. Reminds me of my gram who would lift her nose to the sky, declare “Rain’s comin’!” and twenty minutes later lo, there was rain.

I listen. I hear a western-scrub jay who likes the rhododendron just outside my bedroom window. It calls for about a half hour every morning before it moves to the back yard. I have a couple resident crows who maintain and monitor a triangulate of trees between my house and the neighbors’. I recognize the voices of the family of fat squirrels, whose cries I mistook for many years as bird song, as they run their squirrel highway from plum tree in the front yard through the wealth of a tunnel of wild blackberries to the back fence beside the dandelion laced yard.

I found an Audubon site where I can hear recordings of bird songs. Crow caws are “songs”. I am startled and amazed, though not shocked, when I play these recordings my back yard begins responding with a cacophony of bird songs, not just crows. Perhaps the current residents think they are being invaded by new neighbors or competition. They are certainly annoyed and yell at me when my feeble imitations interrupt their avian conversations.

I am so grateful to have been able to work to have and keep this little place I am using while my body is here on this planet. To be able to sit in my own yard just a few miles from rabid urbanity and have such a variety of wild life outside my door. To hear an array of voices, from the most raucous caws of the crows to the scolding squawks of the squirrels to the sweetest little tweetle songs of birds I haven’t identified yet, reminds me despite all the ills of the cultural world nature prevails. If you pay attention the crows tell you all about it.

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I love the symmetry of flowers grown against a fence, any fence, and I’m enchanted by these paper white delphiniums against the silver-gray grid of chain link. I’m guessing it looks ethereally haunting in the twilight. A couple bright orange nasturtiums presaging the colors of the coming season. A friend’s pumpkin harvest, perfect number for all her kids and grandkids. Sunny golden face of sunflower in the field. Still as sunny, bee-fully brilliant sunflower comforts at home.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Game Night (2018, rated R); a group of friends who regularly gather to play games together find one of their role playing games goes wildly awry. * Binged through two seasons of The Sinner (2017 – , rated TV – 14); a detective, who has his own secret, helps traumatized people who are accused of crimes. * Brewster McCloud (1970, rated R); this old movie has several recognizable names and a twisted plot with – wait for it – crows. * Bingeing In the Dark (2019, rated TV – MA); a blind woman, Murphy Mason, was mugged two years ago and becomes friends with the boy who saved her from the perpetrator beating her to death. When the boy is murdered, Murphy is determined to find his killer, with or without the help of authorities. Her methods are unique.

Currently ReadingCrow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (2009, crows) by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. Observations of crow behavior and activity in the wilds of the urban setting. I am particularly fond of crows. * The Harvard Medical Special Report on Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease (2014, health) which gives an overview of the disease, its progression, and how to help those who suffer. It’s good to be prepared.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Having the wit to help a friend in need.
  • Patience while waiting for Social Security to get things straightened out. I found out it is my responsibility as a citizen to make sure they get my account set up the way it needs to be for me.
  • My local lending library assisting with getting old movies and documentaries the library system doesn’t own. I might have to wait, but I usually get to watch what I want.
  • Coffee.
  • Heavy cream.
  • The son scheduling a job interview.
  • A new grand-nephew who was safely delivered, and mother and babe are home with daddy and big brother already.
  • Pen. Paper. Doodling.
  • Bird song. Cricket choruses.
  • Mastering tzatziki this summer.
  • Cucumbers and garlic grown within five miles of my home for my tzatziki. Mint from my yard.
  • Having a bit of extra fruit on hand to finish up when it was too hot to go to farmers market this week.
  • Farmers market happening every week through the end of October, so I can get strawberries next Wednesday. Hopelessly addicted.
  • Oregon strawberries that ripen clear up til first frost.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Medicine, Nature, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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