Monday, July 16, 2007


CROW REMEMBERS


Hurricane now gone by, trailing a heavily clouded sky. The big wind was called Man-yi or number 4, depending on whether it was Korean or Japanese - they both claimed it, had different predictions for the big windy spiral, neither of which panned out - the Korean weatherpeople expected it to plow up the center of their peninsula, the Japanese ditto expected it to roil its way up the center of their archipelago, posing a serious wind and rain threat to every major city, indeed, every village and house in the country, but they didn't give regular updates on tv as one in a focused world would expect.

Surf the tv channels urgently for the latest and all you got was it the usual celebrities cooking and eating, the usual celebrities in silly quizzes and the usual celebrities in hot tubs, they just carried on with the the always startling vacuousness of regular programming - such as that is - in the hours after warning the nation of imminent weather disaster. Which approach would have been disastrous had the hurricane performed as the weatherpeople predicted-- there would have been no time to batten down, evacuate, whatever; just thank the big wind (the weather-p as wrong as they so often are), that it pivoted slightly at a crucial point and just broadshouldered its way along the side of the country, with pretty strong winds and heavy rain...

Yesterday afternoon, after the rain had stopped, out in the stormedge, the sky was empty of life except for a crow, of all birds. As I watched him way up there quietly doing his thing, it came to me that back in the way-ancient days, when the animals made their early tradeoffs, the crows traded aerodynamic skills for the kind of lowdown savvy that enabled them to survive yet be lazy, a quality that over the eons of crow-cunning evolution has led to the uniquely non-aerodynamics that crows exhibit today, such as understanding the nature of trash bags and the potential value of shiny objects. But apparently they've never forgotten what they gave up in exchange, as I saw in the sky.

You know how crows have always flown since the big tradeoff, all wingknuckles, gawk and bentfeathers when it comes to serious aerodynamics, outflown and pestered all the time even by sparrows. Well that crow was recalling what joys his kind had once embodied, he was ecstatic at being able to fly so fast, even moreso that the hurricane was doing all the work. He wasn't about to go sit down in a safe tree like every other bird, including the hawks-- he kept gawkily climbing, spreading those big black wings and speed-spiraling in wide circles alone, now and then gliding straight then diving swiftly even as a hawk: he was remembering the ancient but alien feeling of speed and elegance, wanted to do so for as long as it lasted.

I kept expecting maybe a YIHAAA! or corvine equivalent, but being savvy he wasn't reckless. He was silent with a kindred to the concentration one summons in zen archery, after a target unknown but remembered, a black bundle of nostalgia in a darkening sky.

As for me watching - and you too, I hope - may we so savor own hurricanes...

3 comments:

Mary Lou said...

Noupdates is almost as bad as too many updates!

Dont your daughter and grandaughters live right where that earthquake was? I hope they are ok!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this lovely post. I shall never see crows in quite the same way again. I really appreciate your ability to artfully describe your thoughts and experiences. Thank you again for sharing. -Kurt

Bob Brady said...

Kurt, thank you for words that keep me going...