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When Crows Mourn

The winter storm was moving in early this morning, with clouds that were dark, menacing and foreboding rolling across the sky, the harbingers of fury and destruction to come.  I was up early to check on the animals in the barn.  As I was walking across the field to the packhouse I heard a crow cawing in the distance.  It was a disturbing caw, sad and filled with distress.  It felt like it was following me, flying to the next tree repeating its caw.  I walked faster wanting to get away from the frightening bird.  Then I saw several more on other trees, the power lines, and the roofs of the barns.  It seemed that the one has become many.  I am truly afraid now even on the cold morning I am soaked with sweat.

The rain beats down on the tin roof with a sound so loud that I put my hands over my ears.

I break into a full run as lightning streaks across the sky, the thunder shaking the earth as I run feet barely touching the ground beneath me.  The sound of the thunder has scattered the crows and they fill the sky with darkness.  Their cawing is a sound from a deep dark place long forgotten.  I burst through the door to the barn slamming it closed behind me.  The rain beats down on the tin roof with a sound so loud that I put my hands over my ears.  I can hear a terrible wind blowing through the cracks on the door and I hear the pine tree branches snapping in the distance.  I can only sit in the darkness and wait for the storm to pass.

Courtesy of Raissa Urdiales, Artist

There comes a silence after the storm a moment of peace now the tempest has passed and in the distance, I can hear the crows gathering again.  They make a sound of mourning, filled with pain and sorrow.  It quickens my heartbeat and I feel tears on my cheeks.  I slowly open the barn door and walk to the edge of the field.  There I could see in the distance so many crows filling the trees and the sky all of them making that awful sound like the sound that mom and my aunts make at funerals.

There on the ground just at the edge of the field where the tree line starts lay several crows on the ground fallen victims of the storm.  They allowed me to get closer and I stood there in awe.  I could see that they were paying their respects and perhaps saying goodbye to a friend or family member.  My Daddy came running across the field with my dog in tow.  I could tell that he was upset because he knew I was outside during the storm and he couldn’t find me.

He suddenly stopped beside me, put his hand on my shoulder and said, they are mourning the ones they have to leave behind.  Let’s back away quietly and let them mourn in peace.  Even my dog Cookie could tell something very special was taking place.  Her head hung low and tail between her legs.  Slowly one by one the crows flew away in groups, in pairs until only one remained behind and it flew to the ground in front of me and Cookie.  It cawed a couple of times and then flew away.  I knew I had witnessed something that I never dreamed possible, a day when crows mourned their loved ones.

Cookie and I would see a single crow often as we worked the field and we always wondered if it was the same crow.

Daddy was coming back from the tool shed with a shovel in each hand.  He handed me one and said it was only right that we bury them, which we did.  We walked silently back toward the house and we could hear a single crow cawing in the distance.  Cookie and I would see a single crow often as we worked the field and we always wondered if it was the same crow.  It would always land in the trees near the place where we mourned the crows.  I would throw it some corn from time to time and it would eat and then always fly away saying goodbye with a single haunting caw.

Point Of View

Life is full of unexpected happenings.  There are moments in life that are spiritual and seen by very few people.  These magical moments do happen if we slow down and make time for life to show you the amazing things that happen all around us that we seldom take the time to see.

My grandma told me of the legend and folklore of the crows.  It always astounded me the stories about nature and animals that she knew.  It is the spoken lore that we have forgotten lost as our elders leave us.  For me, it was something special that she left behind.


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Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Larry, I could hear the mournful cawing of the crows and I became scared too.

    Your writing always draws me into the story, which is the goal of good story telling.

    Crows are not the most appealing birds by far, but have been created with instinct that allows them to protect their own. Perhaps they are capable of feeling the pain of loss as well.

    Thank you for sharing your storied life.

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