Saturday, 8 February 2014

Two Crows Visit a Show

We took a trip to see if we could find spring. 
In old Norse mythology, Huginn and Muninn are two crows who fly around the world every day to see what they can see, then bring the news back to the god Odin at the end of the day. Well, the resident sweetie and I have been doing a little travelling this week, accompanied by Huginn and Muninn, and we’ve seen and experienced a lot to share with you.

Wanting a winter break, we headed Seattle, to experience the buds and blossoms at the Northwest Pacific Flower and Garden Show. It was unseasonably cold. Fortunately, Al had his Montreal Canadiens’ toque with him, which got him a few puzzled looks. It just didn't fit with all the Seahawk paraphernalia we were seeing.

The Seahawks are Seattle’s football team; on Sunday the team won the Superbowl for the first time in its history. They call Seattle fans “the 12th man” – the secret weapon in the stands that pushes its team to victory by its loud energy. All 700,000 of the fans, clad in blue and green winter coats, blankets, hats and mitts and facepaint, were at the parade which passed just down the street from our hotel. Huginn and Muninn saw people who, having pulled their children out of school, lined up and sat in the cold for hours so they could have a split-second to wave and shout at their handsomely paid heroes. I wonder what the two old crows thought of that.

Over breakfast at the hotel, we paged through the free national newspaper, Huginn and Muninn reading over our shoulders about the billionaire who complained to the Wall Street Journal that the 1% of folks who control most of the wealth in America are being persecuted. The birds also read about the Olympics, which are costing billions because of mind-boggling construction projects to make it all possible. So much construction rubble was dumped in one suburb of Sochi that the residents’ drinking water has been polluted and is undrinkable. The problem can't be fixed till after the Olympics, they're told. I’m kind of hoping that the two old crows were just looking at the pictures because they can’t read. We humans can be a little crazy sometimes.

We threw the paper across the room, bundled up, and proceeded to the Convention Center where we thoroughly enjoyed the spring feeling we’d been denied outdoors. We took great pleasure in the colours of spring flowers, the scent of budding bushes, the sound of waters trickling over rocks in recreated landscapes. We attended seminars, picked up information and pamphlets, talked to greenhouse makers, admired yard art and ingenious tools, and occasionally just sat and watched the people walking by. H&M probably noticed and enjoyed what a variety of people there are in this world – or maybe, to them, one human looks very much like any other. When you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Huginn and Muninn? The show featured lots of yard art. These crows were created by Gunther Reinmitz of Abraxas Crows. We had a wonderful conversation sharing news and views.
We were happy to hear that the trend in gardening is to use natural shrub plantings and fill in the spaces with flowers and vegies. Over and over again we heard about biodiversity – that a garden filled with a big variety of plants will create a healthy ecosystem that supports and corrects itself. Such a garden will provide a refuge for a multitude of critters, so necessary for spreading seeds and pollen and for enriching soil. Such a garden will nurture the world’s need for health, for food and for beauty. There will be bugs and slugs, but a balanced garden can handle the negatives.  I’m guessing that Huginn and Muninn liked that message: it speaks of a world where they can feel at home, not wondering if they are feeding their babies poisons; a world where there are tall trees to nest in, fresh water to drink, and clean air to fly through.

It occurs to me that what is good for Huginn and Muninn, what is good for tiny bugs and colourful blooms, what enriches and nourishes the soil, will be good for all of us, too. We benefit socially, spiritually, physically from tall trees and trickling brooks, from clean air and beauty and fresh food.

And like the organisms in a garden, we are all of us – noisy Seahawk fans and complaining billionaires, cranky retired folks on vacation, Olympians and ordinary people at the garden show, old crows flying around the world and pesky bugs chomping on our greenery -- interconnected. Our world is like a garden filled with a big variety of life. If we work together to create a healthy ecosystem, the world will be a refuge for a multitude of creatures. I’ll use what I’ve learned this week to work for such a world, because I dream of a time when Huginn and Muninn will be able to fly around such a world and bring back good news to the Creator of it all.

Cynthia St. Charles created this lovely piece. Although it's called Winter Birds, it suits my idea of a peaceable kingdom where there is a place for everyone. Check out more of this artist's work at

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