Wednesday, June 25, 2014

on crows and memory and heart/mind

In good weather I go down to the waterfront of False Creek and do qi gong and t'ai chi. It's so lovely and quiet and peaceful - definitely a favourite place.  And I have some favourite places to do my exercises. (In fact, I'm writing this blog at one of these places right now on my cell phone.)

Lately, as I approach one of my favourite places, I have been accompanied by a couple of crows. They caw and swoop and caw and land and caw and take to the air and... Well you get the idea, there's a whole lot of cawing going on. (Vi Hilbert, a Lushootseed Elder, now deceased, was a famous story teller and archivist of the stories of her Northwest First Nations people. In her tradition as I understand it, Crow is constantly saying, "I know. I know."  Sounds like my own mind, a lot of the time. Anyway...)

I've also heard that when crows feel threatened they will badger the perceived threat in ways similar to my experiences walking to my favourite exercising spot. And it is also said that crows have excellent memories, and that they will 'record' the appearance of those passers-by whom they identify as particularly threatening, keeping a wary eye on the individual and making sure to pester them along, out of harms way, even dropping in flight so close as to touch their claws onto the persons head, which has happened to me a couple of times in years past. (Here's an interesting website that discusses the memory of the crow…  So sometimes I wonder if these crows in question have 'recorded'  me (which brings feelings of preoccupied self- consciousness, "Jeez, what did I ever do to you, crow!":-)

But this morning, in the midst of my exercises, after again being accompanied by the crows to my favourite spot, and again finding the lovely and quiet and peaceful post-qi gung vibe, I had an curious thought, "Have I recorded my past experiences of crows onto the crows that have travelled along with me this morning and in the mornings recently past?" Is my own mind like Crow, constantly saying "I know. I know," when really it is just trapped in some recording of previous experience and superimposing it upon my more current experiences?  

I think this superimposing of past recorded experiences happens to most folks, not just me (boy, is that a relief! :-)  I'm sure it does to me. How human. And how nice, and human, to step out of that 'I know' way of thinking and just settle into the waterfront like regions of the heart/mind where quiet and peace and present moment can be found.  

And I wonder, in Vi Hilbert's world, what animal species good naturedly chuckles at their own foibles.  What a happy animal that must be.