Skip to comments.Wolf and Crow
Posted on 05/20/2003 1:27:08 PM PDT by SJackson
There is a picture on my wall that was drawn by an elder of the local Indian tribe. He was a wise old man who always tried to teach everyone around him, and I wasnt allowed to buy the picture from him until he taught me what it was about.
Wolf and Crow are together for a reason. They hate each other, he said, but they need each other to survive. See? He pointed to the crow, flying high above the wolf and cawing loudly as he looked down. The wolf was clearly understanding the crow, and, on the alert, was following the crow across the landscape with a determined, tail-down hunting posture. The experts dont know this, and even when they see it, they dont believe it, but Natives know that Crow shows Wolf where the animals are, and after Wolf eats, Crow feasts on the bones.
The picture has been on my wall almost five years, and it has a special significance for me because of the story that goes with it, and the memory of the old man who told it to me. It is a beautiful drawing even without the story, though. The picture is large enough to clearly see across my living room.
The picture often captivates me, because it shows the irony of survival how we must sometimes depend on those we hate. The picture is done in careful pen and ink, showing that the artist had spent a long time watching these animals and knowing their behavior and postures. The crow is done in short strokes of the pen, the same strokes that the artist used to draw the brush and the trees of the forest. In this way, the artist was indicating that the crow belongs to the forest. He is a social creature, and he is comfortable in his role. He can easily survive in the forest on berries and insects and frogs, but, because of his greedy nature, he sacrifices his fellow forest creatures for his own gain.
The wolf is different. His fur is long and smooth. His eyes are penetrating and searching. He belongs to another world, the dusty world of sagebrush-spotted foothills and grassland. He is not social he is determined and alone. He survives, and he refuses to take that survival for granted. He does not belong to the forest, but he must enter the forest to survive, and he is self-conscious and uncomfortable about his role. Yes, he must kill, but only as a point of survival.
This morning, as I sat in the half-light of dawn sipping my coffee and listening to the news, I heard that Sharon didnt plan to expel Arafat. It was at that moment that my eyes raked over the picture and rested there. I stared at it for a long time. It somehow explained the situation in a way that news analysis couldnt.
Sharon is the wolf; Arafat is the crow.
Arafat flies high over the forest of terrorism in the Palestinian world. Arafat is comfortable in the world of terrorists. He is made of the same short strokes of violence and hate that distinguish the terrorist infrastructure known as the Palestinian Authority. He enjoys the life associated with terrorist society, and he doesnt mind sacrificing his own fellow terrorists for his own benefit. Arafat clearly makes it easier to find the terrorists, cawing and circling to show where the terrorists can be found, and it makes sense to follow him deeper into that forest in order to flush out the terrorists once and for all. Arafat knows that Sharon will following his signs closely, but he doesnt care. He will lead Sharon directly to the places where the terrorists are hiding and let Sharon flush them out, but only for his own purposes. Arafat grows fat on the actions of those who fight terrorism.
In order to survive, Sharon must find and kill these terrorists, but killing is never clean or easy, even if it is for a good cause. Like the country he represents, Sharon is alone in the world and uncomfortable and self-conscious when he must venture into the forest of terrorists. He is determined, but his reasons for hunting are driven by survival, not greed. Every time Sharon must make a kill, however, Arafat is there to feast on the bones, complete with a public relations campaign. Then, like a crow returning to the forest to live among those animals he double-crossed, Arafat returns to the Palestinian Authority, and blames Sharon for the incursions, the fights, and the deaths of his people.
Sharon doesnt expel Arafat, because Arafat makes it easier to find the terrorists. Arafat continues to encourage the incursions, because it allows him to continue to feed upon the bones of his own people. If this cycle is to be understood and drawn upon, it must be done by those who have watched long enough to know the postures and understand the situation better than an outside expert can. As the old man said, The experts dont know this, and even when they see it, they dont believe it, but Natives know.
Michelle Nevada lives in a small town in rural Nevada.
Indeed. Notice that it her, not the old Indian, that thinks wolves are solitary creatures. Wolves are not loners, but very social creatures, who usually hunt in packs. It's a very heirarchical society they live in, but very social. Their social nature is very evident in those members of the wolf species that have become part of the human pack. We call them dogs, but genetically they are just varieties of wolves. A big cat would have been a much better analogy, although even though most are solitary, some, like African lions, are not.
Comparing Arafat to a crow is an insult to crows all over the world.
When he removed the sticks, it fell.
Oh, but it was, look again, only read more slowly.
Clans were the Crow and Wolf - social patterns of Canadian Indians -matrilineal moieties.
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