Saturday, December 3, 2011

the crow

I walked, pushing my son in the stroller, onto the cold street and saw a black shape on the uneven ground to my left.  At first I thought it was a dark sweater, but as we approached I saw wings and feathers.  The crow, dead on its back, had no head.  I stared.  Part of me wanted to get closer to examine the details in its greasy feathers, to see each tiny etch on its twig-like feet, but mostly I was appalled.  I'd rather hold a spider.

When I lived in dorms my freshman year, one day we heard screams.  A dorm mate had a spider in her room.  A big one.  The squealing girls were waving their arms and hopping around.  I smirked.  Nobody wanted to deal with it so I walked over, picked it up, and threw it out the window.  I was proud of that.

But crows are different (especially dead ones) and being that I was on a Truth-seeking trip, I wondered what meaning I could glean from this ominous creature.  I couldn't put words to anything.

We continued on.  I was more alert than usual because I had the goal of loving the Truth out of anyone we came across.  In my little world, that just means smiling and admiring people.  By smiling, I mean the kind of smiles that start deep within and work their way out.  Certainly, love is more than only smiling.  Serving and empathizing come to mind.  But I don't think we should underestimate the power of a genuine smile.

I was blessed by every person we encountered.  Grace is everywhere.

Is there grace and truth in a dead headless crow?  Hesitantly and ineffably, yes.

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