1 for sorrow, 2 for joy…

April 30th, 2008

 A crow visits our backyard, our postage stamp of a backyard here in this urban neighborhood, almost daily. It swoops down from the same direction every time – from the east – and lands at the back of the yard by the vine-covered brick wall that divides our piece of green from the apartments behind us. We make up a nice little green patch, the six little city gardens of our apartment building and the grassy stretch attached to the apartments behind us. Several large trees, the wall to perch on, the hedges. It attracts the sparrows, a motley crew of song birds, and this crow.

Last Thursday while I was drinking a coffee on a balcony that overlooks an open-air market a glossy black crow landed on the railing a foot from my elbow. Its claws clicked as it grasped the railing and it gleamed in the sun. He – was it a he? how does one tell? – tilted his head this way and that as he inspected my table; finding nothing to eat he inched his way down the railing to the next table, then the next. He flew the brief distance back to the spot at my elbow, I met his gaze – glossy black eyes in his glossy black head – and then he soared away over the market.

I’ve always loved crows, those collectors of the shiny, those companions of the wolves. These visitations feel like a blessing, like a message from my totem, like a guide to the way forward.