Keep Your Feathers

crow1A crow was envious of the swan, which had beautiful silky snow white feathers.

The crow hated his coal black color and secretly wished to have his feathers as white as those of the swan.

 

The crow often thought about the reasons behind this difference. He closely observed the swan’s life style and his food habits.

He saw the swan swimming all the time in the lake and observed him eating weeds and other water plants.

The crow then foolishly thought that the swan was white because his feathers were being washed out all the time in the water and his food had added to his beautiful color.

crow3

So was his desire to change the color to that the crow flew down to the lake.

The whole day, he washed his feathers in the lake water. He even stopped eating his regular food and tried to satisfy his hunger with the weeds and the water plants.

However, even after continuing this routine for long time, the crow’s feathers remained black as coal. The only change happened to him was that he became thin and weak.

But one day the crow happened to see his reflection in the lake.

“What am I doing to myself?” he cried. “How could I have forgotten that I’m meant to be a crow! Being a crow is what I’m good at!” And he flew away to eat some proper crow food and caw with his old crow friends.

Man’s Hard Heart

wild forest

Wherever forests have not been mowed down, wherever the animal is recessed in their quiet protection, wherever the Earth is not bereft of four-footed life – that to the white man is an ‘unbroken wilderness.’

But for us there was no wilderness; nature was not dangerous but hospitable; not forbidding but friendly.

Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings.

For us, the world was full of beauty; for the other, it was a place to be endured until he went to another world. But we were wise.

We knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.

~ Chief Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux

Magical Reinventors

lifeshifts

“Living things tend to change unrecognizably as they grow. Who would deduce the dragonfly from the larva, the iris from the bud, the lawyer from the infant? Flora or fauna, we are all shape-shifters and magical reinventors. Life is really a plural noun, a caravan of selves.” ~ Diane Ackerman