From May to September, Bernie and I frequently head north to Tenstrike, Minnesota, the location of Birch Haven Resort, owned by my daughter and her husband, Kate and Jerry Gaslin. This was their business venture with all its joys and headaches, but we have loved going along on their ride. If it weren’t for our garden, we would probably live up there all summer.
Upon one return to our home, we discovered in horror that someone or something had ripped apart screens all around our house. It looked like some monster had clawed them in an effort to gain access. We called the police to issue a report, went on line to check out the DNR and we called the University of Minnesota Extension office to see if they were aware of any animal that might do this kind of damage.
One resource suggested that crows have been known to do damage to screens. Sure enough, as we looked more closely at the window areas, we found bird droppings all over the bench that sits against the house on our front porch under the front window.
The next day, home alone, in the early afternoon I went to take a nap. Shortly after I lay I heard the cawing of crows in our front yard. As minutes passed, it seemed that I could hear more and more crows gather and joining in the chorus. The sound got louder and louder until it seemed to me like the crows were having some kind of political convention. For some reason, I did not get up to see them. It felt right to lay still and just listen as though they had come to give me some sort of message. The raucousness of their caw-cawing and the damage they had done to the screens made me feel this message was of vital importance and the time for me to heed was upon me.
It must have been fifteen minutes before the horde started to dispurse. Finally, I could hear only the sound of a lingering crow or two. Then silence, and me still frozen on this hot day to my bed. I felt exhausted and I fell asleep.
Native Americans have this wonderful understanding that God speaks to us through animals. They aren’t the only ones who believe this. We look to animals to teach us all the time. Think about the fables of the Ant and the Grasshopper and the Turtle and the Hare. Beavers probably taught mankind about building dams. The inventors of airplanes studied birds to discover the secrets of flight. Jesus learned life lessons from animals and passed on what he learned to his followers.
Knowing all this, I decided to find out what crows have to teach. I have a couple of books on native spirituality and I checked out the internet. The message I believe that the crows had come to give me is that I need to speak my truth.
Well, I have to tell you, speaking out has never been easy for me. Fear has been my worst enemy when it comes to writing. I decided to accept this visit by the crows as significant for me. I began taking risks sharing insights even in difficult situations. I let worry about possible outcomes, like rejection, fade away. Taking the risk to speak my truth in writing…and publishing that…was the next horizon. Here I am, launched and trudging through the woods. I am finding that the monsters I thought were hiding behind the trees were only shadows.
I am listening more and more to the message of the birds and animals that come into my life. It is quite amazing.