By Adagio

What does “crow” mean, anyway?

The word crow technically encompasses all the birds in the genus Corvus, but the word implies so much more than that.

(Keep in mind, throughout this essay when I use the word “crow”, I am using it to specifically describe the carrion crow and the common crow, and not every member of the corvid family.)

Crow means adaptation. I am a crow because I change. I’m a scavenger. I do the best I can with what I have, and find ways to get the things I need or want. This doesn’t just apply to food or actual objects, but also to knowledge, guidance, success, things of the more intangible nature. I look and find and take.

I used to live in New York City. I was young, but not so young that the city didn’t make an impression on me. It was fast and required me to keep moving, looking around, being aware of things. I adapted. It wasn’t anything personal, just something that had to be done. Then when we moved to where I currently live, a very small town surrounded by farmland, I adapted. It was different than living in a big city, yes, but it still required me to change in order to fit into my new environment. I prefer the small town, but I didn’t hate the big city. They just have different requirements. They ask different things of people. The big city is not for everybody, just as small farming communities are not for everybody.

Me? I adjust. I am a crow.

Crow, as much as it represents change, also represents stability. Crow is always there, and I’m always a crow. Crow seems old, and smart, and always knows what to do (and if he doesn’t, then he improvises.) This again relates back to survival, but I perceive these two aspects in different ways. Adaptation isn’t necessary, but it is a good idea. However, without intelligence, adaptation is nearly impossible. Intelligence is a constant.

Crows have quick thoughts and analyze every situation, to figure out how it can be a benefit. Many animals also display this ability to adapt, but it is an essential and core part of the crow’s nature, and is the focal point of experiencing being crow. I do like knowing things, and if I don’t know the answer to something, I will find out. That way, if I encounter the same question or problem later on, I will know how to handle it and hopefully make the outcome be to my advantage.

A common stereotype of the crow is “trickster”. Tricksters like to joke and play tricks, and laugh at the expense of others, even if the other person is hurt or embarrassed in the process.

That is not how I experience the trickster attribute of the crow. To me, “trickster” means manipulating a situation so the crow will benefit in some way, but still being able to appreciate the humor and possible irony that results. This serves to help me not get frustrated and upset (although that does happen from time to time, of course). Maintaining a good outlook about a situation is vital to making it work out for the better.

I also associate sarcasm with crows, even though that is not necessarily a crow behavior, since sarcasm is a human concept. Still, the two are inexplicably linked in my mind. Crows laugh and look at things differently, with a question in their eyes, and they don’t worry about keeping up false pretenses. I tend to do the same.

Everything about crow is related to survival. The crow, essentially, is a being of instinct. It’s all about survival, changing, staying alive, and doing what you have to. All of the crow’s intelligence and problem-solving skills are to help the crow thrive. Crows are successful and it is in their nature to try to conquer any situation and benefit from it.

Expanding on the sense of humor attribute: Crows do have a sense of humor. The crow is not particularly mean, he just sees the humor in situations that others may not find funny. Some people may think me insensitive, but I figure life is too short to take everything too seriously. True, I may also laugh at the folly of others and get great enjoyment from it, but I also keep a sense of humor about myself. When I fail to achieve something, I take it as a lesson. I laugh at myself because I was so silly to make a mistake. Errors are something to be learned from and laughed about. They only cease to be funny when the person fails to learn from their mistakes. Dwelling on things will not help. You have to move forward, fly away, adapt, fix it.

Humor is also tied in with flying. Flying is pure joy and freedom, and I laugh at that because it’s so funny, so enjoyable. It’s an opportunity to forget. It’s an opportunity to realize that nothing is so serious that I can’t still enjoy life. I enjoy laughing and I enjoy finding things to laugh about. It’s much easier to adapt and survive with a flexible and humorous view of life, instead of a bleak and pessimistic one.

Learning from mistakes, adjusting, surviving, keeping it all in perspective. This is crow.