The crows outside my window, on the barren twisted tree branches, sentries that come and go, inhabiting silence and stillness until something makes them all take flight. There are four of them now, watching the sky, resting or marking time for me, actually I can only see three now in the tree, where before there were twenty or more.
I have no idea what makes them come at this particular time of day, it changes from day to day. Sometimes it is noon, right now it is 3:15. If I were moving about in my cabin, they wouldn’t come and rest still on the tree. It is only because I am sitting in stillness so my movements don’t startle. There is no movement on my part, other than the beating of my heart, the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard and the wiggling of my toes under the wool blanket. My breath too is moving, but its movement is quiet and I am learning to still myself from these birds, these crows outside my window.
The other birds that come to visit are the tits and the robins. I’ve left food for them all around my cabin and they alight on my windowsills and peck away at the seeds and grains. The tits are the opposite of still and fly away if I exhale too deeply. They are very colorful and chatter. The robins are braver and will sit and watch me from behind the window, or even if I’m outside, they’ll come and watch me, wondering what I am up to and if there is food connected to my presence, which, of course, there is.
I’m grateful for these bird beings, in ways I cannot express. They make me feel happy, alive, connected and protected in some way, as if the Holy One is sending messengers to keep an eye on me and to remind me of the vast wild world around me. Every time the birds take flight, I delight. Just now a hundred or so wheeled about in the field above my cabin. Some more are now resting on the tree outside my window seat and I, the lucky one, get to sit and watch them as they preen, as they align on the moving wind-swept branches, balancing themselves and then taking off to their next rendez-vous with the tree down the steam or in the fields nearby.
I’d like to be one of these birds, even if only for just a day. Whoosh, some signal just was transmitted and now they’ve all flown away, not a one is left on the tree for me. But, still, I wait for them and know they will be back, when it is right for them, it will be right for me.
I will sit here and wait for them to come again to “my” tree. I am waiting and waiting here in this cold dark time, when the daylight hours are from 8:30a.m-4:00pm. It’s 3:26 pm right now and it’s already getting dark. I’ll light the second night of Hanukkah candles here in my window. If the birds were coming at night, they would see three small lights in the night. I won’t turn on the lights. I like the long hours of dark and the small amount of light. It makes me go inward and turns me towards the crows and the wind within my heart and soul. I like the not knowing where all the edges are and the muted blending of darkness that covers me like a blanket, obscuring my details and leaving me as only a body, here, born of flesh, but made mostly of soul. A lump of stuff just resting and waiting for the next message or messenger to arrive, and I’m in no hurry, no hurry at all.