I’m writing this post under the tranquil setting of the tall oaks… okay it’s not true. Unfortunately, the internet is not reliable here, and although I thought of playing it old school and using pen and paper and transferring it later… I am just too lazy for that. (Funny how attached to our technology we are now, eh?) So. I am
w contemplating this post under the tranquil setting of the tall oaks near our summer home. The olive leaves sway gently in the breeze, a mix of mature and mighty oaks and a few spindly little ash trees. The ash borer beetle destroyed a lot of them a few years back. It’s so pleasant here. In the spring, the leaves are sparser and you can almost say we have a lakefront view. The lake is there, the forest just blocks it most of the time. Occasionally, if you are really patient, a chipmunk or squirrel will dart through, inquisitively eyeing you, hoping you have a treat or dropped one nearby. The other night the foxes crept near, sheltered by the dark brush, but close enough to let us know they are becoming less afraid of us humans. riting
It’s cooler here than over in the field where the sun beats down all summer. It has its disadvantages though — nothing ever dries, and the dark, damp ground attracts mosquitoes. We don’t picnic outside too often, here in the bush. But it’s a great place to read — or contemplate blog posts. We rarely have to cut the grass. Nothing grows much, except the weeds that seem to tolerate the acidic soil. It’s tranquil, but it is definitely not quiet.
I live in the city, so you think I would be used to the noise. However, up here it is nonstop. We love how a good thunderstorm sounds on the roof of the trailer. During the day you can hear the people playing and enjoying their vacations, or a boat out on the lake beyond the trees. On Mondays, the garbage truck comes by and you can hear the bins clanging. Cars make a distinct grinding noise as they go slowly down towards the private cottages along the gravel roads. The squirrels and chipmunks climb high into the oaks and get at the acorns. Every so often they drop one, and if it happens to drop on our porch roof it bangs with such a thud, you’d think there has been a shot fired! Seriously — it’s loud. When you get used to it, you wait for the ping ping ping as the nut rolls down the incline and off the roof. Single handedly, the most annoying noise in the woods, however, is the crows.
I say they are crows, but they might be ravens. They’re big, but ravens are bigger, though, I think. So let’s say they are crows. You don’t see them often, their black, sleek bodies with just a hint of iridescent green, blend in to the dense foliage in the treetops. Sometimes you can hear them fly in — the flapping of their huge wings like some horror movie from the sixties. It’s their calling that is so obnoxious, though. Kinda like a cross between a duck quack and dog bark. Loud and harsh. It doesn’t seem to hold any meaning either… perhaps they answer one another. Perhaps they just like to be heard. Like a two year old and a new, flashy, electronic toy that is stuck on repeat… caw, caw, caw… Either way, the sound is creepy. During the day, they are there, but the other noises drown them out, and it is easier to ignore them. It’s in the wee hours of the morning when they become most hideous. The sun is barely up and the calling begins… like some sick rooster announcing the dawn. No pretty songbird chirp, just caw, caw. How come the falling squirrel acorns don’t hit them on the way down and knock ’em out? Sheesh!
And yet, as I sit here in contemplation, I can’t help but compare the crows to the doubts, fears and insecurities in our lives. Big, black, and often overshadowing the pretty songs of our other qualities, our doubts creep in and disrupt all our other solitudes. “Am I good enough?” “Why does this always happen to me?” “Will we make it to the next paycheck?” “What about the kids?” I don’t know what your doubt is, my friend, but I know that we all have those nagging worries somewhere down in our souls. We can ignore them most of the time — when the other noisy distractions can push them aside. They hide in the treetops until, sometimes, in the wee hours, when no one else is around to displace them, they come calling again. Loud and harsh. Caw, caw, caw.
I want to end this post on a positive note, but the crows will always be there in the treetops… and the doubts and fears will always be there, too. Sometimes they fly away and the calling stops, but then a new set of crows show up and the noise begins again, in a different tune and tone. Take comfort, then, that God is the orchestrator of the forest, the one who created the “call of the crows”. I don’t understand why all the noise, to me it is just harsh and annoying — but He has some purpose in the call. It’s up to us to give it over to Him, and let Him use those needling noises, the ones all unrelenting and severe in our ears, to blend them in to the swaying melody of the mighty oak forest, in a concert worthy of the master conductor.