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  • If what we feel comes down to our perception of something, than changing our perception should change our feeling. No matter how I perceive death, it makes me feel sad.

    I returned home to find raucous robins in the backyard. I couldn't see them from the living room window but I most certainly could hear them. I slipped my shoes back on and headed outside for a closer look of what I already suspected was happening.

    The avian party had moved to the neighbour's rooftop where a lone crow was perched on one corner with a large audience of magpies and robins.

    My heart sank. The crow was pulling apart pieces of something I could not see from my angle down below yet I already knew its prize. The fledgling robin that had been hiding out in the shrubs of the neighbour's backyard. The new little bird I'd been keeping an eye on in hopes that it would survive its time on the ground amidst so many dangers; cats, coyotes, weather and see him thrive into adulthood.

    I grew up on a farm and was not innocent to the laws of nature and animals. Still, I was saddened by this death. Why did this great black bird, who never visited so close to the houses, need to pluck this new young robin? Why did it affect me so?

    I understand the circle of life and yet found cruelty in the crow's behaviour. Is it within a bird to be cruel? I do not know the crow's experience. What forces govern it, what motivates it and what lingers after its actions. I am not the crow. Are the robins sad as well? Who could know? I am not the robin.

    As an observer, I opened my heart and allowed my emotions to flow, fully. Sadness, frustration, confusion, powerlessness. Although I may not fully understand what forces govern me, I do understand the richness and vastness of this life I live and that surrounds me and engulfs me and I fulfill my duty as observer and participant as I wipe away tears, write away confusion and breathe away my need to understand death. I surrender to the possibility that I may never understand it and I find freedom in my ability to express how it affects me.

    Perhaps I am the crow. The bird with feathers so dark they absorb all colours. The bird whose legends speak of occult knowledge and ritual, of omens and prophecies, of contact with other worlds and dimensions, the one who flies between the worlds of the living and and the dead. Perhaps I am also the robin. Harbinger of spring, of birth and rebirth, song and creative expression. Sweet voice of the self.

    The duality exists within my perception. Fear arises from allowing the part that explores the shadow side, that flies with spirits and speaks with ancestors, to devour the innocent, sweet expression that struggles to sing forth on this earth. Yet there on the rooftop sat the magnificent black crow, the red-breasted adult robins and the black and white majestic magpies. The mediators of the bird world, the holders of balance.

    The death of the crow will not allow the robin to thrive, as it will not allow the creative expression to flourish. It will simply suppress that which is only natural and throw all things out of balance. The black and white of the magpies hold the dark and the light in perfect balance. Both are needed. Both exist together. Neither is good or bad, but only perception. The creative expression, the soul's song, spring's rebirth, feeds the depth of the blackness, the unknown void, the potential, the bridge between the worlds and allows all perceptions to be challenged, returning something far greater than the sum of its parts... a great synthesis of dark and light.
    Still, death saddens me.
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