Living Creatures

9 December 2020

Crows are leaping from the cliff’s edge, bounding forward and falling fast. They barrel down like black vessels until, mid-air, the wind cracks open their cocoons. As unravelling wings span across the sky, I wonder what would happen if, rather, they kept themselves screwed up, just to plummet like rocks. But, of course they don’t. Instinct tells them otherwise: to open, yield and lift. So they float, steadily and so slowly that the only thing distinguishing them from falling ash is the pattern of their flight. Cross-hatching the sky, pairs fly under, over, left and right: synchronisation exclusively characteristic of living creatures. Most fly back up to the cliff’s edge to repeat the process, one pair landing only a few metres from where I stand. With tattered wings and yellow eyes, they wait their turn behind the flock that rushes forth. Defying gravity and ignorant of death; how I envy them. How it might feel to have the wind rush through you, limbs loose, eyes closed. With icy air numbing body and mind, the freedom felt could beg the question: why pull up? To let oneself meet with the ground, sink into its warmth, giving yourself up fully and finally. And isn’t that what the earth wanted all along? To put us to rest, pull us back down and swallow us up? Kicking the stones under my feet, I question why I stay put, why I stay standing. How I wish I didn’t want to stay. But, you know why I do. Because of how the crows intertwine when they fly. Because living creatures love first, and die second.

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