Tiny Points of Light

Sometimes it’s just the smallest thing that illuminates your day.

I was walking the dog the morning before the winter solstice when an urgent crow meeting convened in the treetops. Crows were flying in from the whole neighbourhood to share their opinions.

I took quite a few photographs in an effort to see what the cause of the commotion was. While I never did figure that out, I did notice that the frail morning light struggling through the clouds at the base of the trees, combined with the darker overlapping of branches and crows at the top, made a rather pleasing composition.

As it seemed to capture the tentative return of the light, I chose the one at the top of this post to share on social media yesterday to mark the solstice.

But that wasn’t the tiny thing that really made me smile.

That came later, when I was sorting through some of the other photos and realized that, of all those crows in the trees, I actually recognized one of them!

See that crow sitting at the top, just right of the one taking off? That’s White Wing!
Recognizable from a hundred feet because of her distinctive silhouette, her wonky wing feather sticking out.

I can’t say exactly why that little observation made me so happy. I was listening to a CBC Radio show earlier today in which they talked about how popular complex jigsaw puzzles have been this year. They mentioned the contentment of being fully immersed in a project that has a fixed end in mind. Flow state, they called it.

When I’m out walking every day I’m also working on a puzzle — the endless mystery of what’s going on in the crow world. I don’t suppose there’s an actual end to this project — no single piece that will dramatically pull every element together.

But picking out White Wing —one small, distinctive component in the giant crow jigsaw — was a moment of pure delight.

White Wing, closer up, December 14

White Wing alone in a tree, December 8

The only other crow I’ve been able to reliably identify by silhouette was George. After his beak was broken, that subtle step down on the upper beak was his signature.

George and Mabel: Love’s Delicate Balance

There’s been a lot of darkness this year, and so much uncertainty.

Perhaps that’s why each small answer — even if it’s just one tiny puzzle piece coming home to its rightful place — seems like a comforting ray of light.





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12 thoughts on “Tiny Points of Light

  1. I so look forward to your posts. It seems that I will forever be in a corvid phase..they give me hope for the world returning to sanity. Happy holidays and stay well.

  2. It’s really a gift to be able to connect with members of another species so well! Betting they recognize you and pay attention to your comings and goings each day!

  3. I love the pictures of George & Mabel. It gives me inspiration for a pen & ink drawing with a watercolour background

  4. My dear June, your occasional tiny points of light have been such a joy over this whole troubled year! Thank you for sharing your musings and your lovely photography. I look forward to the day we can hang out once again.

  5. Goodness, how happy I am reading about your crow families. And so grateful for the healing it is bringing me from my bird phobia. Never mind, I am only healed from crows! But what a JOY in my life this brings.

  6. I remember driving Granville bridge and seeing this crow sitting on the railing. I took a double take and blurted “I know that crow!!” I recognized her by her weird feathers on the right side of her chest like a slit of a pocket. So I know what you mean by recognizing one unexpectedly!

  7. Was feeding crows and got carried away. More and more began showing up. Was really enjoying this when I got a very angry, threatening message in my mailbox. I was informed what I was doing was illegal and if I did not stop, my neighbors were going to phone the police. I’m sad….I was really enjoying feeding them. I tried to just feed one family, however, more and more showed up. I’m surrounded by homes and obviously no one else likes crows.

    • I had that problem, too. I solved it by finding a “neutral” territory, which is on regional district property, away from the residences. I only feed them there. Sometimes I get crowds (murders?) of crows, and sometimes I just get my own three crow families.

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