The Crow

March 29, 2019

It was my birthday, yesterday. I turned 55. 

Like most days since I moved out to the country, in late fall, my morning routine was much the same. 

First thing is first, I start the fire which has inevitably burned out during the night. I open up the vents and stir the ashes in hopes there are hot coals still clinging on to life. I throw on a couple of small splits, make coffee and tend to The Toots. 

I open up the curtains on three large, south-facing windows and check the tall pine trees, which helps me gauge how strong the wind is blowing, hence, how big I can build my fire. 

I have heated entirely by wood, this winter, a ritual which I have enjoyed immensely. It brings me back to my early childhood, living with my grandparents, in Laggan, Ontario. Nannie would make toast on the stove using a reconfigured wire hanger. Everything tastes better on the woodstove. 

With a French press of coffee and my lap top, I sit at my desk, in front of the windows, looking out at the trees, the snow, and the lonely, wooden, lovers’ swing, immobilized for the last four months by snow and ice and the absence of a suitable candidate. 

Through the cluster of tall pines, across the road, is the Mennonite church where my neighbours gather to worship. I love to hear the clip-clop of hooves coming down the road. I stop what I’m doing and watch the parade when they come by. 

So anyway, yesterday, as I sipped my coffee and checked some sweet messages of birthday well-wishes, I noticed a lone crow coming to settle on the very top of the long, gangly sprig, on the tallest of the hundred or so pines on the property, her weight bending it over. 

It was windy, but she hung on for the longest time, teetering and balancing like a daredevil high-wire act. Although she could have flown off to somewhere safe, she just braved the wind and maneuvered her wings out to help her keep her balance.

I couldn’t help wonder why. Why would she hang on like that, and lean into the struggle, when she could very well have just flown away to a lower branch or tucked herself in, somewhere, away from the wind? 

Then, it struck me, and I understood where she was coming from… She was loving it!

For a great part of my life, I’ve been hanging on for dear life, grabbing at the tallest, metaphorical branches that I can reach, teetering in the wind. Although, I could always choose a lower, safer branch, often, I choose the most precarious of branches, in sometimes the strongest of winds. I’m not always successful and I’ve taken some falls, but one thing is for certain, and the crow can attest to it, the view from those branches is spectacular. 

Thank you so much for the kindness you paid me, yesterday - family, friends, community and those I’ve met along my journey. I love you, too xxx

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