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September 2, 2021

Conversation on love, Part 1

The sun has not yet risen and I am like a sleepwalker, half-awake. I hear sharp little tapping, like a steel finger, at the kitchen window. She’s back! That’s right, my friend the crow, and she’s begging for her breakfast.

- “It’s only 5:28 a.m.,” I tell her. “Let me wash my face and untangle my hair.”

- “I’m hungry,” she cries out as if to cajole me.

Where the devil are my slippers? My toes are uncomfortably cold against the slate floor. 

- “And I have an empty stomach,” the bird caws. “With last night’s storm, my nest is drenched.”

- “I was also worried. I couldn’t fall asleep before midnight because I kept thinking about my poor peonies. They were ready to open their petals yesterday morning.”

- “Dear lady, I am starving. My little ones are on a trip with their father and the storm washed away my pantry.”

I quickly turn on the coffee machine and arrange my feathered friend’s favourite treats on a tray. I then run to the other end of the house to brush my teeth and find my slippers and a large shawl to wrap around me. At last, I wipe down the patio chairs and table, and put the tray of food on it.

I gulp down two cups of coffee in a row to soothe my caffeine craving while the crow guzzles her breakfast. Satisfied and with an almost solemn tone, she opens her beak to speak.

- “Rainstorms are becoming more and more sudden and severe, don’t you find?”

- “We talk a lot about climate change,” I say. “Yet our American neighbours are used to large tornadoes. Maybe it’s normal? Don’t worry, beautiful crow. The Earth has been pummelled for thousands of years and it’s still turning.”

- “My head is also spinning in every direction. If the sky is going to soak the world, we birds will starve. Tell me, nice human, since we met, I have never seen anyone in your home. No child, no companion, no dog or cat. Is this how you live? Where are your children and your companion?”

- “Beautiful crow, I have lived alone for so long, ever since my children left the nest, some 30 years ago.”

- “Where is the father?” 

- “He has been gone even longer. Don’t worry, we survived. But yes, I live alone like a nun in a big monastery.”

- “Ah, I see, this husband wasn’t a good person.”

- “It is best to forget this cheerless story; I don’t really like to talk about it. And don't worry, I have thousands of books to keep me company. I've gotten used to the solitude with time.”

- “But you are not too old or too chubby.”

- “Well, beautiful crow, my single status is a whole other subject. But you’re kind of right: The more I mature, the more I think I would enjoy having a companion to talk to, and especially, to experience the wisdom of old age with.

- “Yes, indeed. I hope you do meet your soulmate.”

- “Beautiful crow,” I sighed, “my story is simply too long to erase.”

- “Save your words, dear lady, I know your story. The angels told me about it. And I know why you locked your heart away.”

Wanting to changing the subject, I gently ask my black-cloaked companion:

- “Friend, did you eat enough? Do you want a doggy bag to take home?”

- “No, thank you, I’m not a dog.”

- “I’m sorry, dear bird. Your talk of companionship has upset my heart a little.”

- “That’s a good sign. Sometimes you have to overturn the boat to repair the leaks.”

And the well-meaning crow continued her instruction.

- “Perhaps you have resigned yourself, my friend, to thinking that solitude is normal. Humans get used to everything that happens to them and they have an answer for everything. And when the correct answer is too difficult to accept, they prefer to throw their questions, doubts and observations into the calm ocean of normalcy. It's normal, they say to themselves. And they often resign themselves to living a dissatisfied life that is wanting.” 

- “I saw you the other morning rhapsodizing over a thicket of wild flowers. Does everyone notice them? Many humans barely hear the birds singing anymore or the bees buzzing, or the wind as it dries the leaves after a storm. And, frankly, I sometimes worry whether they even recognize the delicate humming of their own hearts.”

- “I apologize, wise crow. I know you’re right, but what can I do to clear my mind of moments that are ground into my memory? Isn’t it too late? Could I really be more amiable, more attentive to gallant men and certainly more honest about my real needs?”

- “Writing is the best therapy in the world,” the thousand-feathered crow replied.

“Continue to lay out your words on the page. They will guide you to the happiness that is promised to every living soul.”


(to be continue next Sunday)