Thursday, May 26, 2011

something to crow about

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A plump crow walked slowly down the middle of the street outside the house this morning. It was not graceful and I wondered at first if it were somehow hurt: Crows don't generally walk down our street.

At some point, I realized that the crow was being carefully herded by three or four smaller birds -- a couple black, one black/grey shot with white -- that would swoop in to a distance of five or six feet from the crow, dance a little and move away. The crow was too far from any greenery to threaten any nest, but the smaller birds seemed to insist ... "Get the fuck out of here!" It was as if they knew that crows deserved, by their scavenging nature, to be excluded and run off. The smaller birds were like kids in school, bullying the fat kid because, well, he could be bullied.

But birds aren't as self-centered as kids. These guys knew what they knew and acted on it. Acting otherwise was not an option. Clear as a bell: "Get the fuck out of here!"

After ten or twenty feet of walking, the crow lifted off, unimpeded by any injury I had imagined. And as soon as it left the ground, the smaller birds swooped in in its wake, nipping at its heels so to speak, pushing the crow further and further away from some unseen territorial arena. "Git and stay gone!" they seemed to be saying. And pretty soon both bullies and the bullied disappeared in the distance.

How attractive it is to be in the presence of assurance. Bullies, among others, seem to act with a clarity that anyone might admire ... "maybe" is not part of their vocabulary. Politicians and generals, among others, often speak as if they were capable and assured as they seek to win others to their banner. They have a vision and are willing to push their cause, urging others to see things their way and, by extension, to gain an assured clarity, certainty and, by the look of it, peace.

It is all very seductive for those who try to weigh and balance and think things through. Uncertainty and possibility swarm and natter and nag. The action of inaction is intolerable. How much easier just to surrender to some one-true-vision, one-clear-act. Right, wrong or indifferent, action speaks an unfreighted language. There may be a mess to clean up later, but right now ... ahhhhh!

I guess it all boils down to the old conundrum -- "Strike while the iron is hot!" but "Look before you leap!" "Action speaks louder than words," but the language it speaks is not always the language of peace or understanding.

Boring, boring, boring. Booooring, but true.

Not much to crow about.
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