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My mother was full of love and understanding, but she was sadden when my friend Bobby and I brought home five newly hatched crows bundled up in a T-shirt. She'd grown up on a farm yet never heard about a mother crow shoving her babies out of the nest, raising the ones who survived the fall. My brother, Roy, had told us it was crow law...so weren't we saving their lives?
My compassionate preacher understood these feelings of guilt, telling me to go and confess to the mother crow, asking for her forgiveness just as he, too, had once done when a boy. But even after I knelt there in the woods begging for her mercy and God as my witness, I still found it hard to forgive myself. I was beyond the point of return: two of the five babies, died. Did they just give up on life? Were their hearts unable to accept maternal love from me? Without my mother's guidance, none of the rest would have lived either.
The old man--my father-- was full of bitterness and anger. At all costs I had to keep him from knowing about the little crows. I feared he'd kill them on the spot...and probably beat me with the razor strap, as he does frequently for no reason at all.
Bobby craved affection from his mother, which she was incapable of providing. Ever since his dog had died, he had been desperately looking for something to love and would love him back. He desired to learn the art of giving that which he, himself, wanted. Now, the warmth and affection he felt cheated out of became a burning obsession that focused upon his new baby crow.
Everybody made fun of Eckert with his big ears and glasses. But he had raised a crow two summers ago, and giving him the third baby made sense. We wanted to entrust it to someone more experienced and knew we needed his advice. He had a theory about taking a tame crow camping in the woods, which would allow it to feel at home in both worlds. The idea frightened both of us, but maybe we had something to learn.
Me Mother Crow moves from that first spring day at the nest through three months of soul-searching and adventure and on to the pain of loss when our crows left in the early fall. In trying to shield Bobby from the anguish about to descend on us that final day, I found myself equally vulnerable to its pangs.
Thus it was that in the summer of my twelfth year I gradually gained a perception of what motherhood meant. I came to pity Bobby because of his mother's cold heart. And, though rejection often brought close to hatred the love I longed to feel for my father, I came to pity him, too.
Deeply concerned with relationships, Me Mother Crow is a story born in the past that speaks to the present...and beyond
© 2016 Roger William King