|Photo by Gregorio Borgia AP|
|Photo by Gregorio Borgia AP|
I could say that this was an Italian crow, and you know the Italian reputation for fiery and emotional displays. This crow was not attacking the dove, it was showing affection in the only way it knows how, by pecking. (A crow-style kiss for passing the peace, you might say.) Or I could say that the crow, a great imitator, was only following the lead of the seagull. Not convinced?
Hmm. How about this: the crow is a member of the Swiss Guard that protects the Vatican; it’s a military crow on patrol, driving out invaders. Or, consider this: even a crow can get up on the wrong side of the bed, grumpy and irritated, and swatting at anything that gets in its way before it has had its first espresso. Maybe he had a fight with his wife or kids, and lashed out. The real crow is hiding inside this pugnacious one, the crow with the heart of gold who participates in peace marches all the time.
Nope. These excuses will not do. Actually, the crow was doing what its genes tell it to do: “Take measures to ensure you survive.” The crow is not a malicious, aggressive murderer by nature, but it does hurt and kill other birds at times to feed its babies, to protect its nest, or to make sure that other predators are not attracted to its nest. Crows are territorial animals, especially during nesting season.
|Photo by Ron Austing|
The crow’s bad boy behaviour reminds me again that there are many lessons I can learn from this animal. Friends have commented that I must really love crows. No, actually, I don’t love crows. Nor do I hate them. They just “are”, which is what they’re supposed to be doing in this world. And when I watch them and their behaviour, I see myself in a new light.
This crow’s behaviour reminds me that I too will do nasty things sometimes to protect what is precious to me. I am guilty of creating separations between “us” and “them” – people who look, act, and believe different things from me. I may not attack them physically, but I drive them away with my attitudes. We humans are prone to build fences around our physical, social and spiritual communities to keep out intruders and other “undesirables”. Sometimes, we create walls around our hearts that proclaim, “No Trespassing”, blocking out new ideas and resisting change, not realizing the damage we are inflicting on peace at home, peace between peoples, peace within ourselves. Although we are all one human family, we have a hard time making room for others in our lives.
Pope Francis released two doves as a peace gesture; the crow attacked one of them to ensure peace in its home territory. Ironic, isn’t it? We often work at cross-purposes with each other, each doing what we think is right, not realizing we are treading on someone else’s territory. We're all responsible in some way for peace in our world. As the song says, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."
What I’m hoping and praying for today is peace and harmony around the world, and peace to you, too, dear reader.
|Crows at Peace, a piece I created recently while reflecting on the word "Serenity."|