What is it about a mob of corvids in a field that reminds me so of Death? The collective nouns don’t help. A murder of crows. A mischief of magpies. An unkindness of ravens. A clattering of jackdaws. A story telling of rooks for goodness’ sake?!
There is something grim, but noble, about the gait of a crow as it bowls over a howling heath, a pikeman finishing off his foe.
Walking an autumnal lane under gun smoke skies on Sunday, I stumbled across the crime scene of a magpie pecking lumps of stringy flesh from the hip of a flattened squirrel. She looked at me, daring coal black judgement. I tipped my cap and continued on, complicit.
One afternoon days later, I was reading a book on the Tao while lacing up my running shoes. As I read these lines, rain began falling powerfully outside the window.
‘Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the master makes use of it,
embracing his aloneness, realising
he is one with the whole universe.
I gloomily remarked, ‘oh, I can’t go for a run in that. I’ll get soaked and maybe catch cold.’ It was after all October and the morning had been chilly.
The negative emotion, of having lost something, immediately gave way to a desire to write these words.
The same sense of sombre loss, of a resignation to fate returns again. I opened the fridge door to check on four lobsters clunking about on the bottom shelf. They are fine. Sleepy. Waiting for the knife point and the flames. Again, I feel the tug of words needing formation, of expression caterwauling from quiet depths. Again, sobriety swallowed up by hunger.
The point I am straining at is that writing assuages my loneliness. The paradigm of my loneliness is bound by abandonment, of being left somewhere devoid of intimacy. The cloaked majesty of a rook eyeing up a worm with dark intent reminds me of this sense, and of the shocking complexity of ‘my’ psyche’s response to an end to solitude. Dare I venture in hope, to a warm scene, holding my love in a long-woven embrace, content with the crackle and hum of a young fire, feet up? Is there a dog dozing somewhere, a joint falling gently apart in a Dutch oven while wet branches lash the panes feebly?
The paradigm conceals a sinister ending; expiring alone, beyond the soft palmed reach of redemption. It whispers that I deserved to be alone, all along.
To Hell with all that! It’s Life I feel when I see these creatures. They are resourceful, discerning and have a refined style. They remind me of me, with my mojo embedded in my palm.
There is no moral here. Just eyes primed with intent.