the crow, explained

{People sometimes ask me why I put the image of a crow to my website header and business cards. “This cannot be your spirit animal or something”, they say. “You like owls, you never mention crows”, they say.

I’ll tell you why. It’s a long and old story (well, an old Russian anecdote, to be precise) I’ve heard once, and it does explain EVERYTHING about my lifestyle…}

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The autumn has come, and a flock of geese is preparing for a flight to the south to spend the winter months in some warmer countries. A young crow asks if she’s permitted to join the flock.

“Are you nuts, Crow?” the geese wonder. “We are going to fly far, far away, as we, unlike you, migrate every year! You’re not used to this; you might not even make it through the first day of your journey!”

“I am strong, I am brave, I’ll manage!” the crow answers.

“Okay, Crow — you’ve been warned”, the geese say. “We’re leaving at once”.

And so they fly. The distance they cross during their first day is enormous, but the crow somehow manages to keep up. By night she’s tired but still determined; the geese ask again if she’d like to give it all up and return home, for the farther they fly the tougher is their journey.

“I am strong, I am brave, I’ll manage”, the crow repeats.

The flock of geese crosses the rivers and forests, goes through the winds and rains, and the crow follows. The journey gets tougher and tougher, but every time the geese ask if the crow has any second thoughts, her answer stays the same: “I am strong, I am brave, I’ll manage!” In a few days, they reach the shore of a sea.

“Listen, Crow”, the geese say. “This is the sea. It is huge. It is dangerous. And there will be no way for you to stop and have some rest before you cross it, because you can’t swim. Are you sure you still want to follow us?”

“I am strong”, the crow says. “I am brave! I’ll manage!”

And so they fly above the sea. A dreadful thunderstorm catches them in the middle of their flight, and they lose any sight of the crow somewhere between the raging rain and the deep black water. Eventually, the storm passes, and the geese reach their destination, but there is no trace of the crow anywhere.

“Oh dear”, one of the geese says. “I wish the crow survived! She always boasted about being brave and strong, and we never believed her… But look how far she came despite our mockery and skepticism! Even though she died, she flew greater distances than anyone of her kind could imagine; she flew with us through winds and rains, and never complained!..”

And, just as the geese are busy mourning the dead heroic crow, a small black dot appears on the horizon. It grows larger and larger, and then the geese see that it’s their crow, beating her wings frantically and stubbornly, and STILL FLYING on sheer determination. Finally, she reaches the shore and falls down on the sand, absolutely drained.

“CROW!” the geese bellow in awe. “You are incredible! You made it through!! You ARE as strong and brave as you stated, you did manage!!!”

“Ye-e-eah”, the crow wheezes through the sand and sea salt in her beak. “I AM strong. I AM brave. But I’m F%CKING MENTAL”.