Since I’ve moved to BC, crows have become a major part of my life. People often ask me why I like them so much – a question that usually involves a long and drawn out answer from me. So, when my friend Sandy emailed me to let me know about the recurring encounters she’s had with crows lately and asked me about my take on crows, I figured that this was the perfect opportunity to actually sit down and reflect on my connection with these creatures.
I moved to BC just over two years ago, following a year marked by loss, heart break, reflection, rebuilding, and reconnecting with myself. Upon settling here, I had the good fortune of moving into a one-bedroom unit in a heritage home that turned out to be much like Melrose Place, only without the drama. My housemates and my next door neighbors quickly became my closest friends, and through them, I met others who are now also some of my dearest friends. I had moved to a big city where I only knew one person, and within a couple of months, had a large circle of some of the best friends anyone could ask for. Talk about synchronicity… I think about and give thanks for this good fortune at least once a week. I felt like a phoenix that had risen from the ashes and spent the ensuing half year in hedonistic bliss – Olympic events, parties, costume parties, trips, “the Gang.” Once spring rolled around though, I felt a familiar pang calling deep within my Soul. I can’t really explain it – it’s a restlessness that brews within me… an anxiety in my Higher Heart that gains momentum the longer I ignore it until it becomes this overwhelming feeling that makes me go crazy within my own skin. “What are you doing? Get back on the Path.” It seems to beckon. “There’s more to life. How is what you’re doing contributing to the Higher Good?”
At first, I tried to ignore the calling. But like always, this just made it grow and grow… a wildfire slowly taking over me… and I started to feel a sense of emptiness again. How WAS I contributing to the Higher Good? How do I pacify my Soul? It was time to start digging deep again.
One unassuming Saturday morning, I woke up early and set out to take my dog on a walk. There was nothing special about that morning, except for maybe the fact that it was meant to be one of our first real summer days. As I was getting ready to leave, something drew my attention to a book that I had bought the week before at a little Buddhist shop down the road from my workplace. I can’t remember why I had originally gone into the store, but I walked out with a book titled “Words of my Perfect Teacher” by Patrul Rinpoche. Anyways, I picked this book up, shoved it into my satchel and away P and I went. As we started off on our trek, I grabbed the book, opened it to the first page, and began to read. I read as we walked over the Burrard Bridge. Read as we went onto the Seawall. Read as we made our way towards Third Beach. I read and read and read and eight hours later we were home. This day marked the start of my reconnection with my spirituality. From Buddhism, to quantum physics, to Taoism, to nature, to Mother Nature, the Divine Mother, Source, Humanity, yoga and perhaps most importantly, the Light that is Me… that is all of us.
I spent the rest of that summer pursuing a new-found and childlike wonder for life. I woke up every morning by 5am and played outside. It was too early for my dog to want to come with me, the buzz of the city was pretty-well non-existent, and so it was just me and nature… and that was beautiful. I climbed trees, I rode my bike around the seawall, I jogged, I swam, I explored… I was at peace. I was one with my surroundings.
During these early mornings, crows became my regular companions. I still don’t know why, but every morning hundreds of crows fly in from the east and settle throughout the trees at Kits Beach. I was there every morning. They were there every morning. It’s only natural that we took notice of each other. Crows are a playful and mysterious bird. A murder of them would fly up into the sky, chase each other around, and then somehow all know what tree they were going to meet back up at. They were always watching, cawing. It’s like they are guardians from the underworld… and the other forest creatures know it. I saw a crow working with a seagull to chase a bird of prey away in False Creek. While riding my bike past a clearing in Stanley Park, I heard the cawing of crows and saw two raccoons pop their heads up and listen… listen to the cawing of the crows. I liked to just sit back and watch them be themselves. Just watch with appreciation and love. No thoughts. And let peace and joy fill my heart and let the simplicity and beauty that is life fill my entire being. By simply being present in the moment, crows helped me to develop a new lens with which to look at life.
So that’s why I like crows so much. They were with me as I began this journey of mindfulness. They caw at me when I’m walking and let myself slip into thought. They caw at me and remind me to be mindful even in my walks. Especially during my walks. They make me laugh. They mate for life. They’re all around special – if you just take the time to stop and look and be.