October 4 is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, who is most well known for his love of animals. He is even said to have preached to the birds—but not, it appears, corvids. At least, the artistic tradition made famous by Giotto has Francis surrounded by various tweety-birds and water fowl.
For a nice change of pace, consider this intriguing wood cut by MC Escher. I can’t tell if the bird to the left of the owl is a crow, but it’s close enough.
Anyway, many churches have services to bless pets in conjunction with St. Francis’s saint day, including St. Andrews in Lambertville, New Jersey, where Super Daughter works as a singer to bolster the all-volunteer choir. I was there yesterday for the evensong service since I was in the neighborhood to help her move into her new abode in Metuchen. (Thus endeth the lesson on New Jersey municipalities.)
Several folks brought their dogs to be blessed by the priest. Dogs and children have the same same range of personalities in church: restless, interested in making friends with anyone in the vicinity, bored, or asleep. And waking up a dog for a blessing works about as well as waking up a baby for one.
One man brought a photo of a cat, which the priest dutifully blessed. And so I asked him to bless Gwen and Stephen Crowbert via cell phone photo. Not the usual request but in the spirit of the occasion (barking during the readings is also not standard operating procedure), he with good humor blessed our cantankerous corvids:
Gwen and Stephen, you were created by God, and you are loved by God. May you and your human family experience joy and companionship together, and continue to be a blessing to each other. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Since we are in the realm of higher powers and miracles, “companionship and joy” between crows and Room Service Woman and Minion Man cannot be ruled out, but I’m not holding my breath. They are, however, in their noisy, cranky, demanding way a blessing.