Sunday, July 12, 2009
Crow here. Since I've never told you how I first encountered susan I thought today would be a good time to remedy that oversight.
One spring morning long ago in human terms, but not so very distant in mine, I happened to be flying over the green rolling hills of the southern Ontario countryside. It had been a long flight that left me feeling in need of rest, so spying a tall tree just beginning to sprout it's foliage, I took on the guise of a normal crow and prepared to land. What to my surprise should I discover beneath the tree but a little girl making dandelion garlands? She seemed to be perfectly content but it was a strange place to find a child all alone for it was a cemetery and not too far away from where she sat were rows of old headstones and a little old church in the distance.
Being too curious to maintain my usual reserve I had to ask, 'Why are you out here by yourself, child?'
Not the least surprised about being addressed by a bird she answered, 'I just got expelled from Sunday school.'
'Why was that?'
'The teacher told me since I wouldn't stop asking impossible questions and was disrupting the class I couldn't be there anymore.'
'Does that upset you?'
'No, I like it out here better.'
'What's better about out here than in there?'
'Out here I don't care about the questions I asked in there.'
I stayed nearby until her father drove into the lane near the church and she ran off to meet him. By then I'd taken an interest and planned to return.
The next time I saw her was winter, nearly Christmas, and a school pageant featuring a play written by her teacher had been planned and rehearsed for weeks. The expected captive audience of these events - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins and neighbors - were all gathered to see the children perform. As I stood in the wings waiting while they donned their costumes and all was made ready on stage I found a copy of the script which appeared to be about Santa, Mrs. Santa, toy making elves and the reindeer having a boisterous adventure on their way to meet the Baby Jesus and his retinue. Forgive me for not being able to discern a more detailed plot synopsis but it was clear the writer was never going to challenge my old friend Will Shakespeare. The good thing about it was that it allowed parts for all the children of the second grade as well as their pets and some favorite toys to be on the stage at once. The audience members were checking their Brownies and flash attachments.
The curtains parted and the play began. Unfortunately, the children had only rehearsed in daytime without an audience and without the pets dressed up with bells and antlers. Chaos ensued.
Suddenly one little girl yelled, 'Stop!' and everybody went very still and looked at her. Wearing her little fairy crown and fancy dress my little susan imperiously and in no uncertain terms told the other children they were standing in the wrong places and weren't delivering the correct lines. So they all shuffled around and started over while the audience erupted in gales of laughter. Her parents, sitting near the front, tried to hide their embarrassment.
How could I not love a little girl like that? She was going to need some help.