I could see the crows, gathered on the arms of a giant power pole: an ineffective metal scarecrow on the top of the hill toward my sacred place. As I stepped off the pavement heading up the hill, the crows went crazy, all of them cawing at once. They took off and headed over my head in the opposite direction to where I was going.
I stopped dead in my tracks, stunned by the flapping scrum. They collectively perched on the roof of a house up the path behind me. The size of the group alone commanded attention. I’d never seen such a large murder of crows. I counted them, as they sat still on the roof, thirty-two. They seemed to be trying to get my attention. I stood between the crows on the rooftop and the hill to my sacred place. I turned toward the hill and the crows went crazy again, shrieking and yelling. I turned back toward them and stepped onto the path, heading in their direction. They went silent.
They all took flight, moving several houses back up the path and perching again on a rooftop, not too far as to lose my attention but far enough to lure me back up the path. I walked toward them. A grassy hill stood between the crows and me. I couldn’t have been closer than fifty feet at any given time. I posed no threat to them. They didn’t seem to be running away from me as much as they appeared to be leading me away from the hill and my sacred place.
I neared the house and they once again flew to the roof of another, this time taking me off the walking path and back into the neighbourhood. I paused a moment, thinking about my plan to complete the loop and reach my sacred place. I had brought my journal and pen, hoping to receive another vision or inspiration or be audience to another great story. Perhaps I’m not welcome today. I continued to follow the captivating crows.
A comical site, I’m sure: the crows leading their human pet along the path on a morning walk. Their behaviour fascinated me. How could I not oblige? They led me up the sidewalk to the main street near Michael’s school and a shortcut home. Then they all flew at once, heading north and out of sight, leaving me at the school. I decided to head home and jot down the odd event, no sacred place for me this day.
I loved the coulee and living on the edge of the city. Large families of deer moved across the hillsides and along the pond. Coyotes came up from the river valley and made dens in the grassy hills. A giant peaceful porcupine ambled through the ravine in search of good eats, emerging in the fall for the neighbour’s apple tree. Even a pair of beavers had found their way in and went to work damming the creek. I felt as if I lived surrounded by nature within an urban community and I loved that.
Like most communities, interesting news travelled fast, and I received an email the following day: a police warning. It appeared a young black bear was seen the day before, heading to the golf course. Its path would have precisely intersected mine.
I burst into laughter. I couldn’t help myself and I couldn’t help but think possibly thirty-two of nature’s black-feathered boy scouts had led me from inadvertently startling our furry visitor. I would have crested the hill on my silent walk, putting both me and the bear in a precarious position. I thanked my noisy scouts and decided to pay closer attention to nature’s behaviour. Even if her messages conflicted with my plans.
~Excerpted from Awakening on Purpose: Trusting the Call
image from Canva
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