As the Crow Flies
Dear Spirit, when I was hiking the other day, I found a wounded crow. At first, I didn’t know if he was alive or not. Then, I saw that he was breathing. Gently, I began to pet him. Then, his eyes opened and he looked up at me, but he didn’t move. I dripped water over his beak and, when he gurgled, I gave him more. He kept looking at me, without moving. Then, I heard the cawing of a crow family. They flew up in the trees forming a semi-circle in front of us. The wounded crow tried to answer their call, but no sound came through. I thought maybe they wanted me to leave. Though I did feel torn about whether or not to take him home with me. I ended up lifting him onto a stone. Then, I said a prayer and left him with the other crows. Last night, I had a dream: He was sitting on a bush looking at me. Do you think I should have taken him with me?
– Jenn D.
Spirit: You were right to leave. The crow’s neck was broken, and he was close to death. You could not have saved him.
Jenn: I didn’t see any blood or feathers nearby. Can you tell me how he got hurt?
Spirit: He was attacked by a circling hawk. You didn’t see blood around because it cauterized before it reached the surface of the skin. The crow’s neck is small and contains very little blood.
The crow family you met had left him for dead. When they noticed you sitting by him, they became curious and they flew back. They made sure not to settle in the trees behind you so you would know that they came as friends. They weren’t asking you to leave. On the contrary, they were touched by your presence. You were there to comfort and bless the crow, and you taught his friends a lesson about the needs of the dying. Now, those crows can teach other crows what they learned from the experience.
Now I have a question to ask you
Jenn: What is it?
Spirit: Why don’t you go back and receive the blessing the crow has for you?
Jenn: What is that?
Spirit: A few of his feathers. As the native American culture understands, it is part of the birds’ manna to be able to share what they’ve learned in the life they left behind – as well as their personal power by permitting humans who honor them to keep their feathers.
Jenn: Is that what the crow was saying in my dream?
Spirit: Indeed, and he came to thank you.
Is he holding onto his dominance? Or is he overeating for emotional reasons?
Spirit: Both. For one thing, he feels his age; and he is afraid if he steps aside, the younger male will start to dominate the morning meal. He misses the days when he was more agile and it makes him feel grumpy – so he overeats to compensate his loss.
Jane: Can I ask you another question?
Spirit: Of course
Jane: Is there something You can do to help him feel better about himself?
Spirit: Yes. Like most aging males, your squirrel friend is learning to appreciate more passive experiences – such as your friendship, the new tastes in your seed bowl -which speak to him of far away places. And he is given the freedom to go about his day pretty much as he wishes. You have guaranteed his survival. Beyond that, his existence is filled with the prayer in his heart: “Please God – may I leap again this day?”