Crows and ravens are birds of high interest to me. They’re attached to mystery, death, darkness both of night and of the psyche. These birds are extremely clever, intelligent birds who like to collect objects, the shinier the better. Science has shown that they recognize humans as individuals.
Crows and ravens are totem birds for me. As I learned about totems, it was the bald eagle that was my first totem bird. The crows and ravens came later and are still currently part of my totem clan.
Because they are important to me, I pay attention whenever I hear a caw or croak as to where am I, what am I doing, or what are they doing, and how many are there at the time as numbers have meaning, as well. These birds are usually solitary creatures but when they are together, there’s a specific reason why.
- They are considered messengers in many cultures and often as messengers of a future event.
- They are the guardians of their area: they will sound off seeing someone or something new nearby, as they watch from the tops of trees or building rooftops.
Recently, I was in the process of closing my step-father’s house, removing the last of the furniture and any remaining personal items. The house was for sale and we were close to getting an offer. My step-father who is 89 had been born in the house and lived in it his entire life, except for the few years when he was in the service during the Korean War and when living with his first wife, to whom he was married for only two years. When he and my mother married, she would move in with him, but their marriage would last only five years. They were still friends when my mother died.
I had hired a team—a middle-aged woman and an old man, as they called themselves—who were moving his goods to an auction house, where everything would be sold.
Halfway through the move, we noticed birds circling above the house. They were crows, quietly circling at the height of about two tall trees. They weren’t cawing, but I could tell they were crows by their silhouette. There were about two dozen of them. Immediately, I had goosebumps.
For forty-five minutes they circled. Continuously. Every time we came out of the house, we looked up and there they were.
We came out of the house for the last time. The two movers carried that last load to their trailer parked out by the street.
I locked the door, shut the screen, and walked out from under the porch canopy and looked up.
The crows were gone.
Goosebumps popped up on my arms and along my spine. I’d never seen crows circling like that before or for that length of time. Nor had I ever seen that many in one place, acting as one.
Suddenly, I realized that they had been signifying the end of an era for my step-father and signifying a new beginning for a future buyer.
As I walked to my car, I realized their circle had represented the ever circle of life.