This summer I gave a couple of webinars on the topic of Crow Therapy and it’s something I think about almost every day as I try to understand why, after 15 years or so, I never tire of watching and taking photos of my local crows. Somehow I feel that the crows are a key to unlocking a big mystery and I’m still working on what it is. But here’s what I’ve got so far, starting with what I don’t think it is.
Every time I write the phrase Crow Therapy I worry that it sounds just a little exploitative — as if crows, like the rest of nature, are just there for our entertainment. As if it’s something that could be packaged in a fancy jar and marketed to a stressed consumer. *
I hope it’s a more reciprocal arrangement — one in which crows can regularly jolt me out of my default setting of seeing the human race as the centre of the universe.
A little daily crow therapy reminds me that other lives — every bit as ordinary and epic as mine — are being lived alongside mine. This realization brings great joy, but also a weight of responsibility and I feel a constant obligation to communicate both.
Joy, I feel, is something that we’re going to need more of in the coming years — and it needs to be a different joy than the kind with which we’ve soothed ourselves up to now. We need a more sustainable source of joy — less of the kind acquired via tropical holidays and the general accumulation of material things. I’ve convinced myself at different times in my life that I’m just one Tupperware container, one pair of pants, or that fabulous kitchen appliance away from my whole life falling into place, so I’m as much in need of convincing on this front as anyone else.**
For the last few days my Twitter feed has been a rushing river of terrifying news from my own province of BC — roads and rail lines washed away, entire towns flooded, homes and lives lost in a moment. In the midst of this harrowing torrent, an ad for Lincoln cars bobs up regularly like a jolly life buoy. The ad assures me that driving a Lincoln will provide great relaxation in the face of life’s little frustrations — things liking having odd socks disappear in the laundry and (in a final touch of unintentional irony) having my umbrella blown inside out by the wind in a storm.
I am 100% sure that a new Lincoln is NOT the answer to life’s daily trials, and definitely not the way to relieve the sadness of seeing life inevitably altered by climate change and coming to terms with the difficult changes that will be needed.
But I do know that spending half an hour watching crows will help.
Or watching rain drip onto a patch of moss. Or listening to the Northern Flickers chattering.
This is a sustainable joy, free, readily available to anyone, and consuming no natural resources … and it’s the kind of joy I’m trying to rely on more and more.
I do realize that I spend so much time exploring the meandering rabbit hole of my Crow Therapy theory, that I often fail to get around to posting anything about actual crows any more. I have a musing problem, I know …
Consequently I have a huge backlog of crow news and photos, so I will try to remedy this, starting tomorrow with a Marvin and Mavis update.
I guess the one thing that I was trying to say in this post was that I mean the idea of crow therapy (and my images) to be, not just a respite from general and/or climate stress, but also an inspiration and a focus for taking action to make things better — for ourselves, for crows, for nature as a whole.
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*& ** I say these things, even as I hope you’ll purchase my images, calendars, bags etc, to enable me to continue thinking about, writing about and photographing crows, so I am aware of contradictions and I am far from having all the answers.
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