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.

Musings on Writing

Musings on Writing

Stretching on my sofa. I couldn’t find my pen, but I feel inspired to write. At first I’m having hard times putting my thoughts into order and making sense of my chaotic musings. Reluctantly I sit at my computer and start writing. I miss the paper and pen, so it’s even harder phrasing my feelings. What got me thinking, I remember, is how, as an animal person, I try to put my experiences into words no matter how hard it seems to be. I remember all the times people would say how impossible it is for them to describe their animalness, and how it can’t be worded – and I would agree. Now however I’m not that sure anymore.

I was stretching on my sofa, as I often do, and enjoying the feel of my bones and flesh underskin, which is an animalistic pleasure to me. I was caressing my mohawk [feathercrest] and the very short hair [fur] on my almost bare skull, and it felt good. Sprawled, phantom tail touching floor, feline ears relaxed. I like most of my body, and it is not because it fits or doesn’t fit people’s standards, but because when I walk around half naked and feel the air on my skin, and smell my own scent instead of clean clothes, it feels right. I remember discussions with trans people, and how we come to realize that we, especially those who physically transitionned, do not have female or male bodies, but trans bodies. I don’t think I have a human or animal body – though objectively I’m human, and humans are animals – but I feel I have an animal-person body. I am an animal-person and I experience this human body from a feline and corvine point of view, and I feel phantom limbs, and this make my body unique and just that. An animal-person body.

When I think of what being an animal feels like, to me, I am flooded with images and sensations and words – yes, words too. I do not think “rawr pounce eat” nor do I only get a simple image of what I want in my head. I am a complex being with a human social construct, and I am a corvine feline creature sipping tea in my chair, burning incense on my shrine, and writing essays – and all the while still having something wild inside. And this should be normal, after all, since I’m an animal person, and my animalself and humanself are integrated into the same mething. But is it really that? Can I word my experiences because, as a humanimal, as a *shudders* contherian, I make no distinction between the human and the animal? I don’t think so, as other people whose experiences differ from mine can write as well – and sometimes better. In the end, it’s as simple as that: without calling them all “Writers” with a capital W, some people improve their ability to write. It is difficult for everybody to put our experiences into words, and indeed sometimes certain specific experiences don’t translate well in writings. However even though for some people, being an animal falls under this category, I do not believe it is fair to assume that since we are animals and animals don’t write, that it must mean we can’t write about animality or other experiences at all. This sounds like a fallacious reasoning.

Probably I am going to annoy more than one, but my point is that it’s easier to blame this issue on being an anima-person than admit one is unable to write about a specific topic. Surely I am going against one of those “were principle” – you know, what is thought as the norm among therianthropes – as it is implied, everywhere, that since we are animals and that animals are supposed to be more primal and not thinking with words, that therefore animal-people can’t write, that it is the norm. But we’re not exactly non-human animals like our cats and dogs are, we’re animal-folks. Whether or not we think in words or images only depend on the individual, and it doesn’t make anyone less of an animal if they think more in words than with smells, pictures, and such as. I have troubles putting words on my olfactive experiences of perfumes right now, and that’s only because I fail at this specific task, just like some people can only experience the animal and not write much about it. After all most of people, animal or not, aren’t writers. There is no need for excuses. It isn’t a matter of “more were than U”, “troo animals”. It’s language and writing skills, and personal comfort with the subject.

We are animal-people. We are animal inside, and arguably phantomly animal outside, and it’s not exactly the same as being wolf-bodied or leopard-bodied. We can’t make rules according to what animals are like, we can only make our own.