The Kookaburra and the Crow
The Kookaburra and the Crow
By Seamus Anthony*
First published December 2003 LivingNow magazine. 2nd published March 2005 LivingNow.
Change is unavoidable, no one can escape it. Busy struggling against the current of the Universal Flow, people make life miserable for themselves by scurrying around trying to build 'Castles Made Of Sand'. They forget that these structures always get washed away by the Great Tide of Inevitability. To paraphrase the Tao Te Ching -all things arise from the Tao, and all things descend back into the Tao. Wise beings know that riches gathered on the physical plane cannot be taken to heaven, and that heaven lies within. It is within that we must gather and store treasures. Here lies the way to Happiness.
I was walking across a bridge, on my way to work one morning, when I heard from above the unmistakable laugh of a Kookaburra. Stopping and looking up, I indeed saw one of these fine native birds sitting proudly along the horizontal section of a streetlight pole. Seeing as I was crossing the Princes Bridge in the heart of Melbourne, this struck me as both unusual and delightful. As I observed the Kookaburra chuckling away, I too found myself beginning to laugh. I was laughing because the sun was shining, because the Kookaburra's laughing was contagious, and because after many adventures, I had finally learned how to be happy.
I continued to giggle as I shifted my gaze from the Kookaburra to the blue sky beyond, then to the sparkling cityscape of Melbourne that lined the Yarra River, and finally to the people of the city who were all bustling along the bridge at a great speed. However, as I met the eyes of the people, I saw that none of them were laughing at all. They all looked so very serious that I momentarily lost my feelings of mirth and felt their pain, for I know only too well what it means to feel confusion in the mind, sadness in the heart, and agony in the soul. Perhaps a little naively, I pointed up to the Kookaburra on the pole, hoping to brighten up a passer-by's day, but the people did not look up. They were each too privately consumed in the details of their busy lives to notice a happy man or a laughing bird.
Then, I noticed that the Kookaburra had also ceased to laugh. I looked up to see that a large black Crow had taken a dislike to the Kookaburra and was trying to scare him away. The evil looking Crow squawked and flapped at the Kookaburra for all he was worth, but the Kookaburra did not seem particularly bothered. Remembering that I had read somewhere that crows are a symbol for Change, I found it heartening to see the way the Kookaburra dealt with the Crow's attempt to scare him away. The Kookaburra, it seemed, was a wise bird who knew that crows, just like Change, may seem frightening and unwelcome at first, but are in fact just harmless yet unavoidable beasts.
Like the scavenging Crow, Change feeds on the decaying remains of the past in order to allow for the unfolding of the future, and is best dealt with by remaining calm. This is exactly what the Kookaburra did.
Standing with my neck craned on that bridge, I watched as the Crow flapped and shrieked at the other bird until it could do so no longer. Dismayed at its inability to scare the wise Kookaburra, the Crow flew dejectedly away. The Kookaburra, who had not moved a muscle in the presence of the Crow, visibly relaxed. As the Crow disappeared into the distance, the self-assured Kookaburra once again began to laugh at the top of its voice as if nothing had happened. And boosted by the free lesson from nature, I bounced off to work full of joy and love for the world.
*Originally published under my birth name 'Seamus Ennis' (Anthony is my middle name which I have taken on as my pen name to avoid being confused with my namesake, the great Irish musician.)
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