This is an excellent time of year for studying crow calligraphy.
Their inky brush strokes are never more distinct than when scrawled across the blank parchment of a pale grey Vancouver winter sky.
The bulletin can be simple — “yup, it’s grey and boring down there in the human world, but every day is an adventure for us crows!”
Often though, the fleeting sight of a crow in an urban setting seems like a cypher — a key to de-coding a much bigger message.
As we dash around in the city it’s sometimes possible to forget that nature even exists.
Even if I try my hardest to feel connected, so many things can seem to stand in the way; the constant metropolitan hum-m-m of sound; getting from A to B; worrying about paying bills, meeting deadlines, not getting run over; the latest news …
I know there’s another storyline beyond it all — one that I really need to pay more attention to.
I know I’d feel better if I could tune into it, but can’t for life of me quite remember how it all fits together.
It’s like a neglected language.
One I’ve never been fluent in.
I’m sure I once knew how to hold a rudimentary conversation, but now the grammar eludes me.
Then, one random day, I look up and see four crows rolling and tumbling in the sky and then snapping back into a purposeful formation.
For reasons I can’t understand it brings to mind just one key bit of the syntax.
Like stumbling across part of a cypher to that complicated secret message — never quite enough information to crack it entirely, but offering a glimpse.
Everything does not suddenly make sense — but I am at least reminded that the other language exists.
I still don’t see the answers, but there’s a certain joy now in the not knowing.
I hope to spend more time in 2023 paying attention to, and working with, crow calligraphy.