Friday, April 05, 2013

Crow-Magnon Woman: On Being a Birdbrain

"Birdbrain" is not a compliment. Yet cross-culturally, indigenous peoples have depicted bird-headed people to signify a connection with the spirit realm. I have a particular affinity for crows, which became my familiar the summer I had pneumonia. I was living in a highly altered state of consciousness, and when I heard them cawing on the telephone wire outside my apartment, I began to count the caws to divine what the number might mean in my life at that time. Birds are augurs. I also began responding to the cawing crow, and we conversed. Enraptured, I penned the poem/chant that appears at the end of this post.

Crows and I forged this connection 20 years ago. Just a few weeks ago, I was captivated by the novel Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger. His central character is a college professor whose expertise is corvids (crows) — and she harbors a secret about her health and impending early demise. For someone who's long been fascinated by positive aging and reimagining how we perceive death, this was an irresistible combination. I recommend the book highly for its impeccable storyline and the author's courage to illumine a difficult subject with fresh eyes.

And then, synchronistically, I spied The Gift of the Crows: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans in my local bookstore, in which real-life college professor John Marzluff deems crows incredibly intelligent as well as playful, describing how one crow would entice neighborhood dogs away from their owners and hold "class" with the canines on the campus lawn!

So I am delighted to be a "Crow-Magnon" Woman. May my poem speak to you, and to your own special relationship with the winged familiars in your life.

Talking to Crows
© Amara Rose 7/30/93

Black-winged wisdom on a wire
Cawing collect,
Caws and effect
A coded conversation
In guttural cries
Opens my eyes
And lifts me higher.


jacquelyn said...

I feed and converse with the crowvfamilies of my village. When they see me coming out the door, they call/caw mybattention to their presence.
I needn' ever feel lonely when they are about.
Thanking younfor retriving your old, so long ago. And for acknowledging crow. Good to have crow medicine!

Amara Rose said...

Thank you for sharing your own crow experience, Jacquie! Crow medicine is truly something to caw home about :-)