Thursday, March 19, 2015
The Crow And I
Isn't it funny how we age, not in a uniform manner, but bit by bit, haphazardly? To me, it feels as if a bird were flying around me, brushing me with its wings and occasionally pecking at me.
My personal bird-of-aging is a crow, and not unattractive, with its blue/black plumage and clever yellow eyes. I can hear its wings beating above my head and sometimes I catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye. Occasionally it flies so high that I think it's gone away for good. But it comes back as faithfully as a well-trained falcon.
Some days it pulls out a few of my hairs, but with such a delicate touch that my scalp doesn't feel a thing. It makes regular passes over my hands, thinning the skin and fattening the veins. Lately it's been pecking at my lower back: until a few weeks ago I could roll out of bed in the morning, bend over and touch my toes. Now I can still do this, but not until after breakfast. I used to sleep like a log, no matter what was going on in my life. Exams, job interviews, the onset of labor--nothing kept me from my date with Morpheus. But now the black bird comes into my bedroom at night and flits and preens and fluffs its feathers, and makes me toss and turn.
Yet my feelings towards this crow are not unfriendly. I've gotten used to its comings and goings, to the way it peers at me with its bright yellow eyes, head tilted to one side, planning which part of me it will touch next. I have accepted this inevitable companion.
My animal escort reminds me that I am an animal too, vowed to the same end as the field mouse whose dessicated remains Bisou retrieves from under some leaves at winter's end, or the deer whose jawbone Wolfie fetches proudly out of the woods. The mouse, the deer and I were cared for by our mothers, loved our children and feared our enemies in ways more similar than we humans like to imagine. And like the mouse and the deer I will, mercifully, not go on forever. With my crow leading the way, I will walk the path of my last days until, like the creatures of the sky, the fields and the woods, I become one with the Mother of us all.