(Journal Entry August 2014)
He sat perched upon the telephone pole as I came around the blind curve in the road.
A brilliant shade of deep blue-black. His feathers shiny and gleaning from recent rains, slicked out his masculinity. Neck feathers ruffled, fluffed and valiantly displayed were intimidating and impressive to any on-looker.
Silhouetted against a storm painted grey sky, he lifted his head and “cawed” repeatedly.
“caw! caw! caw!” three times.
And then again.
If he were a man, I suspect he would have been walking slowly supported by a staff in a long tunic cloak with a big floppy hat, one eye curiously missing. Curious only to those oblivious to the story of the Viking who sacrificed his eye in exchange for knowledge and wisdom to Mimir’s well located beneath three roots of Yggdrasil, the world tree.
Why such a display, I wondered.
The answer only a mere fifty feet down the road. A dead bird lay lifeless strategically placed by the grim reaper himself on the glowing double yellow line.
” oooohhhhh NO!” my heavy heart cried out deep inside my chest.
It was a flicker. I could tell by the one recognizable wing fanned out across the pavement. Feathers of a master painter as they always look as if they have been dipped into a burnt orange southwest sunset.
Hence, THE caw!
#Odin’s son perched proudly on the telephone pole, was staking his claim to the dead. A Valkyrie in his own right. Even though in the Poetic Eddas Odin is followed by two-ravens, the meaning is not lost on the crow in this story. He would be the one to aid in this Flicker’s crossing over, even if that meant picking his bones clean leaving nothing left for the passing lifeless vehicles to repeatedly wipe out its beautiful unassuming spirit.
I am transported to my days of studying Native American mythology which included the meanings of birds and animals in a totemic ‘medicine’ context. The Flicker, a member of the woodpecker family, according to some North American tribes is associated with the Strong Sun Moon (June 21-July22) and a symbol of family. Being a July 9 (Cancer, mother of the zodiac) and mother of two small fledglings, I have often related to the strong paternal instincts and nature of the Flicker
But, all week I have had a lingering sense of dread. The time has come for my babies to leave our summer nest and venture back into their school routine. This drastic change cuts our time together in half for the next 9 and half months as they acquire an “education” an hour away and find home with their dad during the week days.
My heart is heavy. My mothering instincts want to fight, cling, hang on, and pretend there is no threat to our divine connection. My heart cries out deep in my chest, same as it did for the dead flicker.
Tomorrow, when my darlings go, I too will wait lifeless for the sound of a “caw” above me, or the golden sympathetic touch of Freya. One that promises to haul my limp body to Valhalla where I may drink and celebrate in the presence of my Norse ancestors and the Gods and Goddesses.
It is the only thing that will replace the silence and longing, until they are once again curled up in my arms laughing and kissing my cheeks