Crow is crow, you say?


Photo of Dale Chihuly piece displayed in Las Vegas, by Nicole de Beaufort

The trip begins tomorrow in Washington, D.C., my erstwhile home. The city of my youth. A monumental city, I always would say, when asked to describe it. Many people gather here because it’s the center of the free world. And during the 1980s, when I was still a kid, it was where my father went to work every day. At the American Red Cross, behind Constitution Hall and near the White House.

This trip, the one I’m on, begins in Washington and then lands me in Europe. First in Belgium, then Germany, Greece, Macedonia and Poland. I’ll be traveling for 24 days and will be part of a cohort of American Marshall Memorial Fellows, of which I am one.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States has organized this journey and I am one of many people who has been chosen to represent the United States; Detroit, in particular, as we travel abroad to increase our intercultural understanding.

This blog will chronicle the voyage and with any luck, will outlive it. Named after a line in a Mary Oliver poem about crows, it seemed fitting to me to call this Glossy & Rowdy. Yes, this would be a better name for any Garrison Keillor Prairie Home characters. In truth, crows are interesting creatures, intelligent in flocks (or murders) and (according to Hindu beliefs) carriers of information.

From a single grain they have multiplied
When you look in the eyes of one
you have seen them all.
At the edges of highways
they pick at limp things.
They are anything but refined.
Or they fly out over the corn
like pellets of black fire,
like overlords.
Crow is crow, you say?
What else is there to say?
Drive down any road,
take a train or an airplane
across the world, leave
your old life behind,
die and be reborn again—
wherever you arrive
they’ll be there first,
glossy and rowdy,
and indistinguishable.
The deep muscle of the world.
—Mary Oliver



4 thoughts on “Crow is crow, you say?

  1. What a gift, that poem….

    “Sometimes it is fine to be
    just one
    To sail a sweet breeze
    To walk a frozen pond
    To wander on your own from town to country
    and back again.
    But always we return to flocks,
    feasts, and complications….
    We are crows.
    And crows like company.”

    – Marilyn Singer

    Enjoy the journey!

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