I saw a white crow this morning.
It was only about a half-mile from where I’d seen one five years ago, so it might have been the same bird. Crows, after all, can live up to twenty years in the wild. With a quick internet search, the lack of pigment in this otherwise black-feathered species is clearly detailed: a genetic anomaly that speaks to the left-brain. Recessive genes, mutations, chromosomes. Ahh. High school science revisited.
But I see life through a blurrier lens. Why a purely white bird might be born into a fully black flock taps a more mystical chord. Perhaps it is because I don’t see science and metaphysics as being mutually exclusive. When the precision of nature is reshuffled and the results are perceptibly beautiful, it demands us to take note of the quiet power in our universe.
Extraordinary sightings elevate us. Even for an instant, we are required to broaden our scope just a little bit wider, a little bit deeper. These moments, I believe, are portals to a sacred connection: a connection that too often sounds contrived and schmaltzy when voiced aloud.
Yet, here I am writing about it. Not that I need to. We already share it, this unspeakable thread with the divine. We need only to catch another’s glance, give a knowing nod, a collective breath.
I went back to find the crow this evening. I took my camera and sat at the same spot as if I could manifest it to appear.
And that’s the thing about transcendental experiences.
We can’t force them. We most often can’t even find them when we go looking. We can only make ourselves present for when they appear.
I won’t be able to resist looking for the white crow on my runs in the coming days. Yet while I remain open to the hope, who knows what I might see instead? Something scientifically explicable, or an imperceptible tug to the sublime?
Through my lens, they are one and the same.
Editor’s Note: Laurie Lambert fell in love with Red River in 1965. Her childhood dream came true in 1997 when the family cabin was finally completed. Throughout the year she can be found trail running, snowshoeing and devising all sorts of reasons to never leave the mountains.