I have had many people ask me "why do you call yourself Brother Crow?" Truth is, I really don't...it's just that I say "Brother Crow" many times a day, in greeting to those special beings that manage to fly their way to my path on a regular basis, or wake me with their caw, or get my attention by gathering in a treetop and going at it with dozens of their brethren.
Example: recently, I was on the beach in Boca Grande, on Gasparilla Island, SW Florida. It was beautiful, tranquil, a nearly empty beach, sand sharks and stingrays playing in the shallow water, horseshoe crabs and sand dollars and sand pipers and pelicans dancing around in the gorgeous blue water and bluer sky. It was a near perfect experience...except I was in a bad mood because the waves were low and slow that day, and I like to play in waves. I pretty much had a hissy fit, made everybody with me uncomfortable, and sat in my beach chair and grumbled until I decided to go to the car, get some fruit juice and rum and make me a very strong cocktail and get drunk on the beach. On my way to the car, walking up the boardwalk, a huge black crow flew within inches of me, face level so I could not miss it, and landed on an old docking post about four feet off the path. He stood there and looked right at me. I looked at him. I said "hello brother." He cawed, once.
A light went off in my head. What an ass I had been. I had been selfish, unthinking, insensitive, a prick in every sense of the word. My wife, my daughter and her friend, my son and his friend, were enjoying the beach and water and the beauty of this isolated island - they had said one hundred times if they said it once... "God, this place is incredible. This is my favorite beach ever." And I was pissing on it with my childish attitude.
But Brother Crow made an effort to intersect my path and "caw" me into reality. I shook my head, grinned, and said, "thanks, brother, you're right." He cawed one more time, and flew off.
I don't think I have ever seen crows hanging around beaches. And I certainly had not noticed any that day. Until this one brother flew into my lifepath and helped me make a correction. Amazing but true.
I no longer look for spiritual signs or miracle encounters...I have become too exhausted to do that which I am skeptical about anyway. But this time, a crow flew into my face and my attitude changed because of it.
That is why I call them "Brother Crow." Every day, for the past four years, this kind of thing has happened. They are all around me, at the oddest times, cawing, gathering, waking, cawing. And when I acknowledge them, welcome them, I feel like I am making room for the possibility of mystery in my life. Not divine intervention necessarily - just setting it up so I can be open to looking outside of the established boundaries of reason and culture and adulthood, and perhaps see something new. And act like a better person because of what I see.
That's why I call myself Brother Crow; I want to be open to them, just in case.