crow funeral

this morning, I am the attendee
of another crow funeral

the fourth such curated cacophony
close followed by hushful reverence

yet this is only something eventual
finally becoming true

while elsewhere, the crickets
rasp hymns to the rain

© Sarah Whiteley

Anyone who has followed this poetry blog for any length of time knows that I have been accepted by a very special family of crows. For the past 9 years, they have been clownish companions who visit me on the porch, caw through my window to get my attention, introduce their young to me, and tag along on walks with the dogs. I have had to warn any dog sitters coming in that the crows recognize my dogs and will want to walk with them even when I’m not there. I have been entertained, enchanted, and delighted by them – even when they steal my lighter and drop chicken bones on my head (I think that’s a gift?).

This morning the family lost one of this year’s young – hit by a car while I was on my way to work. This is the fourth crow funeral I have witnessed, but the first I have seen from start to finish. While I would have much preferred to have a different start to my Friday, it at the very least serves as a reminder that animals are as capable of close connection and of mourning as we are.

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fresh as new nothing

high above the canyon, the bumblebee wears its band of orange as it slips into the lips of the lupine

I have clamored up the steep creek, braving the slickness of rocks and roots for this spoon of solitude

up here, I am as anonymous to the wind as fierce-clinging heather – alone with ballads of bees and fresh as new nothing

© Sarah Whiteley

I’m slowly adjusting to my return to “civilization” after an adventure in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Mostly I am trying to hold onto that feeling of space and freedom for a while longer, but more posts about my experiences are sure to follow in the coming weeks. And for the first time, I journaled my experience with the help of a little weather-proof notebook my brother and his wife brought me on their last visit. Very handy!

preparing for a hike

poacher’s knot,
lark’s head, and bight –

until I find
which ropes to break,

I will tie them
to my own purpose
instead

© Sarah Whiteley

I have been spending some time getting my gear ready for a solo trek into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness later next week. Last night, I spent an hour outside just before dusk, getting my new tie-outs ready for the tarp and finding great satisfaction in tying my knots. Maybe it’s just me, but I think there’s a certain grace in knots – in altering the shape of rope (or in my case, AmSteel) to suit a purpose.

Once hung, my tarp will be shelter and comfort, will allay the winds from the ridge and keep me dry. A bit of fabric, a length of rope, and I can be at peace in the wild for a time. If only everything could be so simple.