Why Can’t People Be More Like Crows?


Sometimes people are shocked to find that I lead a relatively normal life.  After all, I’m supposed to be some high-falutin’ muckety-muck know-it-all doctor – not your average American woman.

But believe it or not, I live the same mundane life as many others.  I am married and have laundry and meal preparations and shopping just like most people.  Although, I must admit, I have a husband who is more helpful than the ordinary married man when it comes to the mundane things in life.

Often when we are out shopping and doing errands, I let my husband run in to a store and take care of business while I sit in the car.  Most of my time is spent in offices and I live in a natural wonderland of beauty – Southern California – that I get to enjoy all too seldom.  It seems as if in the life I have chosen, moments of quiet and calm are too rare, and I like to daydream, and look at fresh ideas, and to observe my world.
Heckle and Jeckle

Recently, while my husband made an appointment to take the car in for a minor repair, I waited in the vehicle and observed a small flock of crows. They were gathered on the sidewalk, under a tree.

I watched a crow who could walk only to the left.  He did not appear to have a wing or leg injury.  Apparently there was some kind of potential crow food on the ground.  He was having no luck at all retrieving it.  As the obviously impaired bird moved to the left, the food was unreachable on its right.

I became fairly certain that this crow had some kind of a brain injury.  Maybe a stroke, maybe a head injury, but certainly something neurological that had incapacitated him.

Bird brains are not terribly big (which is presumably why we sometimes call seemingly not bright people “bird-brains,”) but they have large olfactory bulbs compared to the rest of the brain.  I remember with great pleasure, when I was only a few years old, witnessing my grandmother of blessed memory dressing a freshly killed chicken.

If anyone ever sees fit to write my life story, this is absolutely the formative experience – my first brain!  Oh, how I begged and pleaded until she let me open that tiny chicken-skull, and how shocked I was to see I was looking at two thin tubes with two large spheres which I later learned were olfactory bulbs!  So this poor crow may have knocked out its sight; or more likely his smell, or both, and could not get food.

Then I saw something I will never forget.  The other two crows helped their unfortunate companion eat.  As soon as they had taken a few bits of food, they gave the suffering crow food, which was eaten with rapidity and gusto.

In the nature TV shows I watched while growing up, I learned that Mother Nature was unforgiving of those of her children who were less than perfect.  Those who grew too old, or got injured, or were born with less capacity than their siblings became the bottom link of the food chain.

What a shock it was – and what an uplifting spiritual experience – to see that these simple “bird brains” were actually a caring community and would assist one of their own who was less capable of basic survival skills.

People, like crows, grow old or get hurt and incapacitated.  To help probably does more than make happy people, or happy crows.  They were keeping this crow alive.  Perhaps it was a female who could hatch eggs, or a male who could father crows.  In either event, these were wonderful crows, contributing to the continuity of their species on earth.

If only more people could see such affirmations and learn such behavior!

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