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  • Writer's pictureHazel Mutch

Crow Wisdom

I set off for a walk one day recently, feeling rather sad and defeated. I don’t know what I was looking for but what I found was crows. They sat on the grassy banks above the dunes, all facing the same direction. I wanted to be among them but as soon as I got too close they rose up together then settled on the next slope, again all facing the same way, so I sat as near as I could without disturbing them.

Crows have long fascinated me. They split opinion; in some traditions they are revered in others feared. They refuse to be labelled as good or bad. They are often associated with death, and any reactive aversion to that idea is a reflection of the general disconnection with our real selves and with nature.

Sitting on that slope, I grappled a bit with these thoughts about crows and their meaning, but my thoughts didn’t help my sadness. They just displaced it, flinging it into the air when it just wanted to be. Soon, I stopped trying to figure the crows out and just settled into feeling their presence. It felt calming and reassuring, and I realise now that I was absorbing their acquiescence; their way of yielding to what is there in the moment. I believe that birds face the wind so it doesn't ruffle their feathers, and certainly my metaphoric feathers smoothed too as I sat there with them. The crows were re-teaching me - don’t try to feel better. Don’t try to feel anything other than what you feel. Turn to face what is there.

Acceptance is compassionate by definition. So by the time I said goodbye to the crows, my sadness was no longer alone but surrounded by compassion and that made all the difference. I did feel better, and the old paradox holds true - when we accept what is there, just as it is, it changes.

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