By Barbara Braver
In the spring of 1988 I was offered a new job, a new opportunity, a new adventure. I was with my beloved Jan Pierce, of blessed memory. We were in a rural part of Pennsylvania, as I remember, and went into a junk cum antique shop. I was drawn to a wooden carving of the head of a rooster. You have something to crow about,” Jan said, urging me to buy it. Knowing me as she did, she well understood that I would be caught up in the sacramental symbolism of it all. And so I did buy it. Yes: I had something to crow about. The rooster came with me and crowed on, a joyful crowing on and inner rousing to the gift I had been given.
To this day the rooster is with me. He leans up quite grandly in his princely redness on a wooden shelf next to where I run water in the sink, in aid of cooking or cleaning and other parts of the daily round. And indeed, there are things to crow about. My rooster awakens me saying that within my daily round are both my burdens and my treasures, intermingled, all caught up together. I do have something to crow about.
Sometimes my crow is a wail as my awareness turns to a burden, a sorrow, a fear of what may be. And I crow, and I wail, and I make known to myself this piece of what I carry.
And I am aroused in another part of my being as both fragility and resilience awaken.
And I crow, I crow to wake myself up to the gifts I have been given. I come upon one of these gifts and the crowing rouses me from an interior dissolution and gets me moving and loudly assures me that my current direction is likely both quite right and so very wrong. Don’t worry, it says. This is all part of the adventure.
Oh, I have so much to crow about. I could enumerate these things but that would be in the spirit of the accountant – which I most definitely am not.
I move to my default position and crow out a poem, a poem about my wanderings about in the highways of life and over the rocky fields and into the slough and up again and so down again and rising and falling, like the sea and the seasons. I wander and I crow about this life and I am coming to think that may be alright. Maybe I need to trust that I will be used and not used up too much on any given day.
I will wander about and crow… which means that my tones will be ones of gratitude. I will crow of my good fortune even in the midst of sadness and loss. I will crow out my loss knowing that all of my wanderings are those of finding and losing. I will crow of love and how it fills in the empty spaces and spills out. I have something to crow about.
Barbara Braver grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where at age 12 she started a one-page weekly newspaper called Neighborhood News. It lasted for a full summer, to the amusement of several indulgent neighbors. This was the beginning of the writing life. After college graduation she moved to the Boston area, drawn by romantic notions of Emerson, Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott. Though this might have been an insubstantial motive, she has never been disappointed. For most of her professional life, she worked for the Episcopal Church, including 18 years serving as the communication assistant for the Episcopal Church’s leader. Since retirement she continues writing, editing and leading retreats.