Morning Practice with Crows

This morning, especially lovely as the days start warming earlier, I went to Chetzemoka Park (Google it for loads of pictures), for practice. I used the gazebo (about a 20 by 20 foot structure), and instead of facing the Straits of Juan de Fuca which I usually do, I faced the park which is splendid during the spring flower display on trees, bushes, and flower plantings, happening right now. I decided to use the Inner Journey image that I like to use in a beautiful, natural setting, called, “I am a camera”.

This element requires the player to hook up the center and the nose, and allow the eyes to gaze straight ahead, and play the form without ever allowing the head and center to move independently. It is a wonderful way to take in nature while playing with the form. The idea is not to allow the gaze to stay on anything, but just take in what is in front as one moves around. Try it – you’ll like it.

As I started through the form, my glance picked up a crow, sitting about 20 feet away from me, and it appeared to be watching me. There are one or more crow families living in this park, so they are used to seeing humans moving about as if in a dream. This crow stayed there for most of the first section of the Long Form. Fun.

This crow stimulated a remembrance that was interesting to me. Crows are smart. And very social. I was living in a house on the side of a cliff at Muir Beach, near San Francisco. A beautiful, small beach which was one of the first to allow nude people to enjoy it. This was 1968, I had just returned from a trip around the world, and I was about to discover Tai Chi, after looking for something that would allow me to see deeper into who I really am. It was the first warm, spring day, so I grabbed a towel, and headed to the beach to enjoy some rays. Also, at this time in my life ( I was 25 years old), I was smoking cigarettes and pot, so I took a pack of smokes and a joint with me.

I laid the towel out, smoked the joint (Panama Red, for you gourmets), took off the string of beads that hung around my neck, laid this next to the open pack of cigarettes, and laid back to enjoy this marvelous spot and time. As the pot took effect, I had the feeling I was being watched. I sat up and looked around, saw no people, but fairly close by was a crow, looking intently at me.

I really like animals, so I gave this bird my loving vibe, hoping to share energy. It started to walk over to me, keeping its eyes directly focused on me. Now a crow is a big bird and I must admit it was slightly unnerving to have him so boldly come up to me. Being stoned did not help.

When he got to my towel, he looked at the pack of cigarettes, went up to it, and carefully extracted one cigarette with his beak, and flew off! I was amazed, mystified, and tried to make some sense to what happened.

In a couple of minutes, the crow flew back, walked to the towel, back to the pack, took another one, and flew off. Boy, I wished I had someone there at the time to share this experience with. We would probably laugh as well as seek mystical reasons.

The crow came back. At this time in my life, I had very little money, and no job, so cigarettes were a luxury item. As he approached, I grabbed the pack and put it close to me. He gave me a long look, then he moved quickly and started to grab the string of beads that were lying there. That made me angry, so I slapped out at him. He dropped the beads and flew off, not to return the rest of the time I was on the beach.

The mind is an amazing computer of interconnected thoughts. The crow this morning brought me back to an interesting time in my life. I no longer smoke cigarettes or pot, but I do enjoy Tai Chi. And crows.