Monday, 12 July 2010


Henry had grown to anticipate the seven am arrival of the crow. He had even begun to think of it as his crow, even though no wild creature could ever belong to a human being.

Each morning, he would set his alarm to wake him five minutes before seven, enough time to use the bathroom then part his curtains and wait. Like clockwork, the crow would drop down and alight on the thick hemlock branch beyond the window.

More than seventy percent of the time, the bird would look left first, then right, then stare at Henry. For a time, the young man kept track of the head movements, curious as to whether birds followed patterns or simply acted. But his crow did seem to think, to find comfort in the routine of a particular look from a particular branch at the same particular time each morning.

His mother had once asked Henry how he knew that the same crow appeared each day. He had explained to her that his crow had a blue spot on its right wing, probably from getting too close to wet paint before it dried. And if he used his binoculars, he could also observe that this crow had one abnormally long toe on its left foot.

All of this routine, the unwavering discipline of his crow, helped Henry to find comfort in his own human realm. He hadn't many friends, nor was he interested in sports or books or video games. He lived for routine, just like his crow.

The two were meant for each other.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


An hour can be a very long time, or it can fly by quicker than a bird overhead. I know, because my life, like that of the elusive hour, has proceeded in fits of rapidity and globs of slowness.

I used to lie in bed, fearing the clock, hearing each tick as it counted towards my ultimate removal from the planet. I felt a sense of urgency all the time, knowing full well that I could never accomplish the goals I had once set for myself. The human spirit is a delicate one, and once the body realizes that it cannot hold up all of these dreams, all of these watermarks, it begins to crack under the pressure. Suddenly, you find yourself in physiotherapy for the latest ailment, because you tried too hard at the tennis match with that younger player.

Then the mind steps in and adds its own melancholy to the equation. You find yourself listening to depressing music, and eating chips and ice cream (not together, of course) to try (and fail) to block the pain that comes with inadequacy. Then the doctor is recommending SSRI's and trips to the tropics when the days are short.

But it's life that's short, not the days. And it's time that's ticking, not your depressed heart. And its time for another hour to fly by, flipping you the bird on its way past.

I have my own bird to flip to time. I will pause. I will administer self care. I will mediate. I will think before I act. And I will build a plan, however foolhardy, and even if I only accomplish one thing out of twenty, I will celebrate that success.