Manataka American Indian Council




Proudly Presents









Crows Talking

by L. Cota Nupah Makah



The day breaks slowly with the sky turning a gray pink until the sun climbs into the sky over the trees. I am awake early as usual and lay for a few minutes watching the change of color in my bed room from gray light to pink and then yellow as the day awakes.

This morning I am not wanting to leave my bed as the house is so cold and I am not burning wood at night now. I wait and listen and soon I hear my old friend the crow calling me. The sweet cold morning air creeps in my widow and fills the room with rich smells of damp earth and green grass. These are the smells that the earth gives when she is starting to settle and grow again. I see it all here in my room as I have seen it all from my eyes for many years now.

I can visualize that old crows shiny black feathers, that look like soft satin in the sun light. The sun bounces off of him and makes a rainbow of colors across his wings as he flies. I know his favorite perch just outside my bed room window, where he annoys me each day at dawn with his loud voice.

I have watched the crows swoop down and eat from my yard for many years now. Generation after generation come to talk to me and share the morning gifts.

The crow calls several times and then waits for me to answer or make an appearance with some bread or scraps of last nights dinner.

Finally after my daily ritual of awaking, "or rut", as I call it, I manage to reach the kitchen door with a loaf of hard bread in my hands. It takes me sometime to pull off a dry chunk and throw it into the yard near the house. The bread is like a rock that has been in the sun too long; but still good for the crows to eat. I know that by noon there will be not a crust of bread or scrap of food left in the yard. Between the Crows and the squirrels and smaller birds they will pick it clean. I am sure this cold frosty morning the squirrels are still sleeping with those busy tails all wrapped around them for warmth. Small birds are snug in under the branches of the pine trees waiting for the sun to come. I hear the cooing of the morning dove peaceful in the distance calling for rain. I coo back and wait to hear them resume their song.

The cherry tree is in bloom and the maple and oak and birch are budding out in new leaves. All is renewed and all is at peace on this land here in Maine.

There is something for every one no need to rush but just follow the order of the morning and let it flow.

The small birds will also eat the crumbs that the bigger birds will leave so all will be consumed.

From the tree top I see the Crow sitting and waiting he tips his head from side to side watching me. Soon he will give out the all clear signal and the come to dinner welcome he does each morning.

After all the bread is torn and on the ground I send out a short crow cry, or as best I can manage, too the crow family that protects my home. The air is freezing and the sun is not fully out to warm up the land. My feet that are bare feel numb standing to long on the porch so I step back into my kitchen to the warm air that now circulates from the furnace heat. I will allow this to heat up the house for a few minutes and then turn it off for the day.

It does not take long for the birds to pass along the message that there is food on the ground and that once again they have been honored.

I return to my warm house and wait for the Crows to descend and eat. One comes then others and they pick and pull at the old dry bread for a while.

One Crow does a crow hop dance across the yard as he looks for a tasty bite.

The old Crow, I take him for the leader, picks up one piece of bread and weights is in his beak then drops it back on the ground. He picks up yet another and does the same with it too. Finally he take up one chunk of bread and manages to pick up the other one and flies off with them.

He has some how managed to weight the amount he can fly with, and in this process made a decision to take both pieces with him.

I think on this and wonder that we humans cannot do the same with our lives. I remind myself to only take up that which I can carry safely and leave the rest of my burden down for another day or another time.

Yet another lesson in crow medicine is given and I place this in my memory to help me not over load my life with worry and pain.

At this time of spirit food offerings I place my prayers in the air to Creator and ask for peace, guidance, and help in my own daily life. I give thanks for the abundance, even if it is old stale bread. All things in the hoop of creation going around and creating the circle of life, are in this giving and taking of the food. What I share from my hands to the animals, and birds also comes back to me from Creator in the joy that fills my heart from the giving.

How wonderful the coffee tastes this morning that I sip on as I mix up a batch of real Maine blue berry pancakes for breakfast. So simple this food yet from the land here and soon will be covered in maple syrup from the near by trees. The giving of the land and the peace that fills my heart are truly sweet and good this morning.

My mind goes back to standing here in this kitchen for hundreds of mornings mixing pancakes and making breakfast for my husband and six children. The old feelings come back and I can hear the children talking and coming awake just like the day is awakening. Soon the air is full of laughter and voices I smile and finish my cooking. I offer the spirit food to the Crows and watch as they swoop and dive to eat.

The crows laugh and eat out in the yard and I curl up on my favorite nest in the couch and drink my morning coffee as I have done for all these years. I am fully aware of my own life and send out a prayer for all my relations this morning.


Many blessings of the day Maka Nupa L Cota

Copyright (c) 2010 by Maka Nupa L Cota All publication rights reserved.