Tuesday, February 11, 2014
A Gathering of Crows
Then the spirit was left in the gloaming and she flew softly on, following shadows that whispered, “Come. Hide with us.” They led her to a forest of tall trees with boughs gnarled and bent. Then the shadows swarmed and twisted around the little spirit, driving her into the tangled branches where ghosts sighed like dry leaves in the wind, crying, “Despair, oh despair!”
But people on earth prayed for the little girl’s soul and finally the angels heard. Down they swooped to find the forgotten child, singing to stir the shadows and racing among the trees. But the netherworld feeds on lost souls and fought back, sending black water that oozed from beneath the forest floor. “Little spirit,” crooned the rising lake, “sink into my warmth; I will press upon your swirling misery and drown you into me.” And the crying spirit began to slide, though her hands gripped still the bending branches.
Then the angels, rushing to God, said, “You must help us for we cannot find her.” And God, in his desperation, called in the crows. They flew in on ponderous wings, a swelling rank of raucous noise, and people everywhere wondered at their movements. Then this gathering of crows spiraled down into the darkness, driving away the ghosts and pecking back the shadows. They lunged and dove at the rising lake until it fled in rivulets along the ground; then nothing was left but the trees. The crows turned their gleaming eyes upon them and the netherworld trembled in its nakedness.
Three crows flew down and plucked the startled spirit from withering branches. Carrying her on their wings, they bore her along as easily as a dandelion upon the wind. Soothed by the clacks of their hoarse lullaby, the little spirit placed her arms around the neck of one and relaxed into its ebony plumage.
She awoke to the sound of triumphant cawing. Lifting her head, she saw a white radiance welcoming them home, and this time the little spirit wasn’t frightened. This time, she smiled.