Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Gathering of the Rooks

When I taught school, I'd often read Susan Cooper's 'The Dark is Rising' to the class at this time of year. Susan Cooper is a children's author whose stories created "... the kind of sweeping conflict between good and evil that lies at the heart of all great fantasy." (to quote off the dust cover). The beginning of the story set on Midwinter's Day, the Solstice, tells of the gathering of rooks, of the growing presence of evil that the hero, an 11 year old boy named Will, must dispell. It's a tale full of mystery and magic, old English folk myths and ancient doings, King Arthur and so on. The perfect book to put magic into the season without the usual Christmas stuff they knew already.

So the other day to see these crows in a tree outside the house, I was reminded to read the story once again, this time to myself and for myself. The two crows are actually a threesome which frequents our home each day checking on us and we on them. The third member of the group always sits apart from his/her pals, I'm not sure why. I have a great affection for crows and their raven cousins for some reason. I'm always reading things into their behaviour as if somehow they will tell me the magic things they must have told Susan Cooper many years ago. I'm ever hopeful, especially as we near the Winter Solstice...

1 comment:

Silbs said...

Thanks for this piece, Michael. Around here, the crows often gather by the dozens and can put up quite a noisy racket. They always seem quite aware of my presence and, although they will let me get somewhat close to them, making eye contact always drives them off. I, too, often have the sense that they appear they do so for a reason, perhaps bringing a message...but I cannot hear it.