My Family Of Crows
I know these are ducks, not crows. But they are cool enough to post anyway!
What’s going on where you are? I hope you are happy and healthy. Lockdown is still going strong here in Nepal. We are legally allowed out from 6 to 9 a.m for shopping at the few food stores that are open. With nowhere legal to go, most local people are more compliant about spending the rest of their time in the house than they might otherwise be. Some people including myself go out for walks at other times when there is nothing legally open but pharmacies. Even during sanctioned shopping hours, it is rare to see more than two dozen people during an entire one mile walk down Lakeside. Nineteen of them are likely to be white people! The locals have close families that are used to spending a lot of time together. Most expats and trekkers have just a few friends here, no kitchen, and no family within several thousand miles. We also seem to have a respect for but less dramatic fear of the virus than the locals do. Expats and trekkers believe smaller percentages of what the media tells us than the locals believe. We are more used to and therefore a little less influenced by the manipulative dramatic nuance in media. We are much more likely to take it all with a grain of salt when served our institutional sources of information. Most folks keep their masks on when outdoors. This often has more to do with cooperation or compliance with legality, and compassion for the fears of others, than it has to do with an actual fear of the virus. There are so few people on the street that one rarely finds him or her self inside the recommended six-foot social distance from another person! So in many cases the masks are a polite decoration. The Nepali folk come out unmasked in the early evening and play badminton without a net on the side streets, kick a soccer ball around, or play other games in their back yards. A few families that live on the same block may cluster a bit, but they don't stray far. The concept of family is different here than in the USA. American crows, however, are very similar to the Asian variety. Families and crows are both looked at below. I hope you enjoy this little bit from the new book-in-progress. Thanks very much for reading and thank you for clicking the back links. Be well, Tenzin
***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you! FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON PAGE REINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGE FEARLESS WEBSITE My Family Of Crows FAMILY Family means something different in Asia than it does in America. They take the concept more seriously here. The difference seems beneficial most often but it can be restrictive and detrimental at times. When I grew up in Brooklyn, most families including my own resembled a badly managed zoo where lions, rhinos, jackals, mongoose, and the occasional cobra were all thrown together willy-nilly in the same cage. Independent thought and a rebellious spirit were at war with tradition and conformity throughout most of American life during the 1960s. This struggle was perhaps most evident within our individual families. Many thirty to fifty-year-old parents would regularly beat and scream at their ten to twenty-year-old children, whose goal in life was to get as far away from their parents as quickly as possible. Many teenagers considered at least one or two of their family members to be negative examples. A lot of parents showed us how not to be. Most adults of that time had a prejudicial, narrow minded attitude toward black people, gay folks, and most other subdivisions of humanity that they were not personally members of. Beside the racial bigotry and a second-class-citizen attitude toward women that was woven into almost every aspect of life, there was a general lack of happiness displayed to many urban children of that era. Our parents’ compulsive striving for material possessions and status often happened at the expense of love and sanity. This cost many to suffer ill moods, ill health, and obsessive behavior. It made some parents appear to their children as embarrassing housemates related only through a biological accident and a temporary financial necessity. This lack of any admired in-house role models to emulate drove a lot of young folks into new lifestyles. What has been publicized as “America’s greatest generation” was no kinder to its parents than it was to its children. This was the generation that invented putting grandma in an old-age home almost as soon as grandpa died. Farming out the old folks was unheard of during previous generations. There are still very few old folks homes in Asia. Grandparents live with their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren until they die. Married Nepali couples may move into a house of their own but many continue to live with their families in the same house where they grew up. Others build a house close by. This can do some wonderful things for the stability of everyone in the family. Old folks are more comfortable with the idea of being old when they are constantly loved, cared for, and respected by the family. Children often feel more secure among a whole tribe of loving relatives. Neighboring and cohabiting aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even cousins often act as second mothers and fathers, giving the child a broader range of practice in relating to adults. Mother and father enjoy a little more alone time and some help with the strenuous job of parenting. On the down side of all this togetherness is the problem of obedience often bypassing freedom and creativity. There are many instances where the future profession, spouse, and living arrangement of a child are very heavily influenced if not altogether decided by the parents. Within such a culture of obedience it is rare that a young adult will tell his or her parents, “I'm going to work and live where I want to and marry whoever I fall in love with! This is my life, not yours!” As is true of so many aspects of life in Asia, an impending American-style 1950s/60s shift is in the air regarding family structure. The violent separation between generations hasn't shown itself very much—yet. But there are signs. Youngsters live on the Internet as much as they live in their homes. They are becoming entrained to some ideas that are very different from the ideas that have been dominant within Asian families for millennia. Some of these notions are an improvement. Many are not. It is wonderful to have access to an unending stream of good information about nutrition, hygiene, spiritual awareness, and so many other aspects of a constructive education—but graphic violence and some very unloving varieties of sexual conduct as well as a lot of flat-out bullshit and harmful misinformation on almost every subject are just as easy for a youngster to find. Children tend to make exploratory choices. The past few decades of Internet access have offered more things outside of home and family to explore than had been available in the previous two hundred thousand years of human history combined. Information acquired from some of these explorations will be acted upon by many children. Some of these actions will put many young adults at odds with status quo. I guess there is no valid objective generalization to be made when it comes to whether a tighter or looser family structure is the better method. Neither is always better or all ways worse. Like most other things happening on human Earth, the success of a family depends upon the individuals that form it and the cultural variables that influence it. All our family members, like all other humans, make us happy—sometimes because we are able to stay with them and sometimes because we are able to get away from them. Crows Like Brown Bread I am looking at the lake from the balcony while having breakfast at noon when Heckle and Jekyll land on the railing. I don't actually know what their names are in Crow language. Technically, the Hekyll and Jekyll that my new ebony-winged friends are named after weren't even real beings, much less crows. They were TV and movie cartoon Magpie birds that made their first appearance in 1946 and their last in 1981. But resemblance between the two sets of birds is so strong that those cartoon names seem to fit these recently arrived friends. The crows look over at me with desire and hope in their eyes, then let out a series of loud caws that were easily translatable to English as, “Can a brother get some of that nice brown bread you have there?” I break off a piece for my boys (perhaps girls?) and put it on the railing about a yard away from the birds. Jekyll is afraid and flies off quickly but then circles back around to sit behind his partner. Hekyll, the obvious Alpha, takes a hop backward on the rail without ever turning head or body around to stick the landing. He sticks it anyway. If it was an Olympic event, the judges would give him a score of 9.9. Within two seconds he becomes a speeding blur that lunges forward and snaps up the bread. He gives me a cautious look. Seeing that I have no problem with him or his hunt, Hekyll sits right where he is and eats his breakfast while I eat mine—and while Jekyll looks jealously on. I try to get Jekyll even but Hekyll is too quick! I put one more piece of bread on the far side of the railing behind the two birds and close behind Jekyll. With the speed of lightning Hekyll flies around Jekyll and snatches up the bread. He eats with a complete lack of concern or respect for his sky mate. It makes me wonder if all crows are like that or if some share. After a few more pieces of bread that give Hekyll a full belly and Jekyll a contact high, the guys are pretty comfortable with me. I duck into the room for a minute. When I get back to the balcony, they have cleaned up the scraps that were left on my plate and flown off. But I can see them both. They are hanging out with three adult cows that are blocking most of both lanes on Lakeside Road right in front of my hotel. Lockdown traffic is close to nonexistent and the people around here love cows at least as much as they love people, so the cows are in no danger. And of course, neither are Hekyll and Jekyll. From this second-floor balcony it looks like Jekyll is telling the patiently listening cows the brown bread story while Hekyll picks his teeth. Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns. ***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!