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Sun, June 16

Graham: Crow serves as a reminder to find life’s purpose

I have a stalker.

It seems like every time I walk out my front door, he is there. When I stop at a store or a restaurant, he is there, already waiting on me. On days when I work, he is watching when I pull into a parking spot behind the newspaper office.

He is brassy. He does not make any effort to camouflage himself. In fact, he often announces his presence if I do not notice him first.

I don’t know much about him, but he seems to be a bit of a miscreant. He is loud, he is rude, he hangs around trash cans, and he and his friends often gather in a group and disturb people as they try to go about their daily business.

I tried to ask him one day why he was following me. He just gave me a blank look and fled the scene.

It is easy to describe him, though. He is black. He has a large beak. Oh, and he can fly.

That’s right, my stalker is a crow.

I know what you are thinking: Doug, you have been working too many hours and your brain is fried. A bird is not following you around. The Prescott area is home to many crows, and you are simply seeing different ones at different times of the day in different areas of town.

But this could be the same crow every time. His feathers seem have a certain sheen, his caw a little extra harshness to it. I swear he cocks his head in the same way every time before he takes flight, heading to my next destination to await my arrival.

So the question for me is, why have I picked up a shadow? At first I was a little concerned. Crows and ravens, their close cousins, do not have the best reputation in literature. And I thought the culture of Native American tribes viewed crows as harbingers of death and bad news.

But a little research revealed my lack of knowledge. According to some Native American legends, crows are considered to be among the wisest of birds and were believed to serve as pathfinders for hunting parties. The Crow Mother website says “the crow has been associated with life’s mysteries” and serves as a reminder that magic is everywhere.

As someone who has been going through some turmoil in my life, some of the description on The Crow Mother site really struck a chord with me. Crows are said to “carry the power for deep inner transformation and growth” and are “a sign of change and will offer guidance as to what your next steps should be”.

Why would I apply Native American culture to my life? Well, I have spent a lot of time in Oklahoma, which like Arizona is home to many Native Americans. My ex-wife is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) tribe, as are my children; I also have friends who belong to other tribes. Maybe someone thinks I need some help and direction for my life.

According to The Crow Mother site, this crow may be my “spirit or totem animal” and is calling me to embrace my life’s mission.

I am not saying I believe all of this, but I am always willing to keep an open mind when it comes to the more mystical side of life.

I may be able to find some inspiration this weekend at the Contemporary Native Arts Festival at the Smoki Museum, which will feature music, fine arts, dancing and a powwow. If nothing else, maybe I could pick up some crow artwork.

And maybe my new friend will be there, watching and waiting, reminding me to continue the search for answers about the direction of my life.

If nothing else, I bet he and his friends will be scouting the trash cans for a snack.

Doug Graham is Community Editor for The Daily Courier. He can be contacted at dgraham@prescottaz.com.

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