Now we had travelled some long miles across the land and in the noon desert heat we stopped at the Madura Pass Oasis Roadhouse and Motel – just as Magpie had instructed.
I’m standing and stretching by the car, and behind me now, from a still-heat day, I heard a little wind blow quick and leaves bustling as Old Man Crow took his form out of the air and space as I turn to see him at his tree-perch, and so still. He sat watching us inquisitively perfectly as birds do. I was more than a little surprised.
The breeze lulled. Crow ruffled his feathers and then a low-pitch warbly gravel-stuttered utterance reverberated as he addressed me. He enquired as to our nature and purpose. Are you the ones? Said he had been waiting for us for a very long time. He greeted us cordially. Then the story.
Time itself paused briefly. Crow’s sage words conveyed a deep knowledge and wisdom of the Earth and its maker, of the seas, the webs and coils of time, and the secrets of the Stars, as well as a few other mysteries too – as best I can recall. He seemed to presume I had understood. I bowed and nodded respectfully. I was thirsty.
Old Man Crow was as ancient as the cracked land. He ruffled then squinted down through the windscreen saw the Boy sitting patiently and growled, get that boy a cold drink and some lunch in this heat and be on your way. He flew off. I did as he instructed.
It had been a very special honour to meet Old Man Crow and to hear his story.