Crow Vision

flock-2574265_1920For the 24 years I have lived on my tiny farm in rural Oregon, I have witnessed a gathering of crows in the Eastern sky late in the days of the warmer months.  They are always flying South, as with some purpose.  Sadly, the woodland hills have been stripped in recent years for vineyards, so the nightly event has gotten smaller.  I’ve always wondered where they go and what mischief they might be up to.  Finally, I’ve gotten around to write about it.

THE CROWS COME AT SUNSET

From all corners of the sky

Black silhouettes winging together as a noisy flock

On their way to their secret destination

Which I long to know

 

I imagine they are sent from the spirit world

Spies in the sleek bodies of birds

Black as shiny coal

From beak to tail

 

They find their nightly roost

In the high branches of leafy trees

An avian barroom full of raucous cawing and flapping of wings

As they share the events of their day

 

The news comes as far as the cold lands of the Far North

To the dry, pastel arroyos of the Southwest

all the way to the crowded cities of the East

Stories they observed from the world of humans

Comedies born from intelligence gone bad

 

The jokes and stories are centuries old

recycled with different characters

Told with such squawking hilarity

That feathers loosen in the crows’ wild animations

And float earthward beneath the branches

 

The party goes on as the sky turns dusky to dark

Stars slowly appear

The birds’ black eyes grow heavy and their voices silent

Then all that can be heard is the sound of crow breathing

And the song of crickets that welcome the night

 

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A screenprint I made in 1994 “Crows at Sunset”

 

 

 

 

 

The Penultimate Travelers- the Furred, Feathered, and Finned

Travel for humans, for the most part, is a lifestyle choice.  We travel the earth to seek &fall experience, new destinations that pull on our hearts.  But humans aren’t the only travelers on this planet.  When it comes down to it, we are totally put to shame by those in the animal world where travel is mandatory.  For many, the mysterious urge of migration calls some of the earth’s smallest inhabitants to take journeys unfathomable to our minds.arctic-tern-1249243_1920

  • Consider the Arctic Tern who flies from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back every year.  Monarch butterflies fly thousands of miles through several generations from regions throughout Canada to one small mountaintop in Mexico to spend the winter.  Pacific salmonsalmon-273062_1920 are born in mountain streams and swim down to the open ocean only to return years later.  They travel the hundreds of miles to that very spot where they hatched, to reproduce, & subsequently die.  The pull of migration affects tiny hummingbirds, whales, caribou, wildebeest & many other species too numerous to name.

butterflies-807551_1920As a trained naturalist, and as I ponder my own motivations for travel,  I wonder what it must be like for one of these creatures when one day, they wake up and its time for them to leave?  What do they experience when often they must depart the only place they have every known to embark on an unfathomable journey of such physical magnitude?

I wrote this poem thinking of a bird during its first migration & what it might be like….

 

 FIRST MIGRATION

A sliver of a moon

Shimmered off my left shoulder

As we pumped our wings

Rhythmically, silently

Through the darkness of the frigid night.

The urge unexplained

Tugged on my soul

& led me onward, North

Guided by stars

And the pull of the earth.

leaving the familiar behind

An unknown destiny awaiting.

I revel in the freedom of flight

Trusting the whispers from deep within

I follow the others to a foreign land

On a course mapped by generations before me.

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