Monday, January 18, 2010

Running with crows

When I finally started out on my long run late yesterday afternoon, my head and heart were so busy, I found it almost impossible to focus on the world around me. Fortunately, as is so often the case, by the time I'd run four or five kilometres, I was beginning to establish a steady rhythm and slowly but surely regaining some connection with the present moment.

My route took me across the Experimental Farm. Usually, I meet dozens of people and dogs on the farm, but yesterday I had the place to myself. It felt strange to be so alone as dusk approached but I enjoyed the solitude. The air, heavy with moisture, created a blue-grey filter that emphasized the deep winteriness of the day.

Turning towards home, the solitude was broken suddenly by the caws of crows overhead. The light had faded to the point that I could make out only black silhouettes against a silver grey sky, but they were still an impressive sight -- hundreds of crows converging to head back to their roost for the night. Hearing their loud, animated calls, I found myself imagining their conversations. Surely they were describing the day's adventures, sharing tips on where to find the best meals, and exchanging updates up on the younger and weaker members of their extended families!

Some people don't care much for crows but I find them endlessly fascinating. They are -- like many of the people I most admire -- strong, smart, creative extroverts who look out for one another. Witnessing their journey, I was grateful that running had offered me the chance to be present in my life long enough to see and appreciate them.

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