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Troubadour Creative | warning strike

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warning strike

image for blog

warning strike

Many of you will know I have a deep and multi-year relationship with a beautiful ruffian of a neighbourhood crow. This crow, (that I named Zane), is a constant companion in my backyard and I have come to trust and eagerly anticipate his company in my life. In fact, I wrote a blog post and poem about the significance of this bond in an earlier piece titled crow wisdom. I love Zane, and I love the idea that we have a rare but important human/bird connection that is helping to enable my current transformational life journey.

So it was therefore quite shocking and downright upsetting when one morning earlier this year, on my way down the back alley to the bus stop, Zane attacked me.

I can’t accurately explain how bewildered and upset this made me feel in the moment. I was devastated and more significantly, I was betrayed by this act because I believed that I had a connection with Zane that clearly didn’t reconcile with the sharp claws scraping into my skull. I was completely thrown to have the rug pulled out from me in such an abrupt and indecipherable way. You see, despite my best attempts, I don’t speak crow, so the true meaning behind the strike will always be unknown. Clear-eyed deduction would indicate that this was merely nest protection—crow attacks being relatively common in Vancouver, especially during the late spring/early summer nesting period—but my poetic heart doesn’t process rational thought very well these days. I couldn’t help but feel unfairly attacked by this attack, making me question what I thought had been a deeply profound inter-species lovefest. How could Zane, my beloved and intelligent corvid transformation guru not recognize that I bore no threat to his/her/their nest? So what was it then? Was it a random act? Was it an affectionate tap? Was it the Fates giving me a wake-up call? Was it a ‘get-on-with-it’ motivational nudge from the universe or was it just a hungry scavenger looking for a free breakfast? Unfortunately, and much to my personal anguish, the true feelings and ways of the crow remain as opaque to me as the day I decided there was some private language between us. But maybe that’s where the lesson lies; that some things might be unknowable for a reason, or at least for a time.

Because just when I give up and tell myself that a crow is just a crow, he flies to the edge of the roof outside the room I work in, looks in at me with an inscrutable gaze and seems to say … “since when did you think this was going to be easy?”

*Artwork credit: Zane Attacks, Alison Farrer

peanuts
Your claws struck the back of my head with enough force to jump scare my heart into my throat

And when I wheeled ‘round and understood who’d levied the blow, my heart slid down to the pit of my stomach with a wet thud

You’d followed me down the alley, even though I’d said I was late and that there’d be no treats that morning; clearly not realizing that this answer was unacceptable

After the first hit you stalked me, dark wings swooping down and preparing to strike whenever I turned my head, so that I was reduced to walking backwards to the bus stop to keep you in front of me

I was heartbroken to consider you’d turned from me, confused to think our bond had evaporated—maybe had never been there—peanuts our only shared currency

If protecting a nest… surely not from me, who has proven herself a friend first
If wanting attention… surely the message could’ve been delivered in a gentler package
If demanding to be fed… surely immediate fulfillment can’t be expected in life

Was my mind full of mystic nonsense and your mind only distracted by something shiny?
No prophetic connection, just a gullible human and a clever corvid

How many different ways can I be proven a fool? Am I to be constantly reminded of my failures? Reaching for things that aren’t mine to own

Even the birds are laughing