Say It Isn't So

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Birds

One evening, way back when I was working my summer job at the Banff Springs Hotel, "The Birds" was showing at the movie house in town. Scary flicks are not my favourite thrill. I am a chicken for that kind of thing unless I'm with my man at the drive-in theater where I can pull the blanket up over my head when things get too spooky! So I declined the invitation. The following day was my day off so I decided to take a stroll around the abundant grounds of the resort. The day was fresh, the paths were fragrant and the trees were towering. It was delightful. Suddenly I heard a 'crack-caw' in the direction that I was meandering into. A moment of apprehension followed by a minor self imposed chastisement and I'm back into my amble. I approach a very tall fir of unknown name and note the Raven perched high upon a branch. It made that kind of growly yet purring kind of rattle that I have grown to love in my more adult years but at that moment caused me to scurry on my way. The scurry soon turned into a dash while ducking as the enormous avian, winged with talons spread, swooped down upon me again and again for at least 200 meters. One of the hotel groundskeepers was working in a rock garden up ahead and I did not stop running untill I was in his presence. "Did you see that?" I asked, with what little breath I had left. He just chuckled and went back to his garden. I was back on my path once again, rattled, my step more rapid, alone and slightly miffed that the groundskeeper didn't care that I was a damsel in distress. Perhaps that's why he was laughing! So I saunter on. Keeping an eye on the tree tops, I soon became calm with my inner self again. Then I saw a squirrel high on a limb and it leaped off that perch and flew through the air a good distance before alighting on a branch of a different tree. Life was good and I continued with my ramble.

Years later, while working at a hospital, I had made friends with an older woman. She was probably at the age that I am presently assuming, not really old but at the time that was my slant on things. She was intriguing to me. She was from Estonia, a single mother, widowed, who had fled her homeland after the Soviets started their occupation in the Baltics. She had stories about the duress of life as a working single mom that make current complaints seem like nothing in comparison. You got through it only for the grace of your fellow man and woman. Her name was Mata K. and I used to fantasize that she was really Mata Hari. I had been reading a lot of fantasy back then, as well as Dostoyevski, and I had just finished reading one of Carlos Castaneda's books in which the narrator has an experience that caused him to become a crow for a while. Well, Mata wanted to read this book so I gave it to her. Several days later, when I next saw her, she demonstrated how she had tried the experience of being a crow by standing on one leg with the other leg cocked up perched in a corner of our little switchboard office. I cracked up! She was so delightful. One day I invited her to my apartment for lunch. She lived very close to the hospital where we worked, but I lived about 3 miles east of there. I told her which streetcar to take to get to my place and she replied. "Oh no, I am a walking animal!" She walked there, we had lunch and after that we took a walk on the beach. I lived in an area called "The Beaches". On the way back we passed a spot and I told her she could get the streetcar here when she was ready to go home and she once again repeated. "Oh no, I am a walking animal!"

As I am doing my Tai Chi exercises there is a step that involves a little kick of one leg, a cock of the same leg, another kick and a step forward. I always think of Mata doing the crow and vehemently emphasizing that she is a walking animal. Walking is so good for us. We don't do enough of it. Perhaps if we walked more, we would not have so much trouble in effecting it. It is surely much much harder to become a crow!

By the way, I am through Level One and onto the next stage next week. My butt is sore. The teacher said it was all about the butt. I've been using muscles that I didn't even know I had. I'm still a bit wobbly but I'm working on my focus.

We had 3 plus inches of snow this morning. I'm not going out in my car until the roads are clear. Maybe I should walk the mile to the store. Naw, I think I'll hibernate!