Grey Heron Nights 5: Old Crane Woman and the music of what happens

Old Crane Woman has moved upriver. She’s standing in the heart of the waterfall. The water around her is chaos, but she stands firm and her eyes are closed. Serenity in the face of the raging torrent? The still small voice of calm? Old Crane Woman opens her eyes and bares her teeth. (Or does she open her beak?) She’s had enough of clichés; she’s had enough of all that metaphysical malarkey. There’s a time for stillness, and a time for torrents. Quick there — did you see her move? Old Crane Woman has caught a fish. A fish plucked out of the heart of chaos. One swallow, and it’s gone. Are you surprised? Do you know how to catch a fish in the heart of chaos, girl? Old Crane Woman asks. She throws back her head, and shrieks. Sometimes, it’s hard to know whether Old Crane Woman is laughing or crying. You do not catch the fish by standing still in the face of chaos. You catch the fish by becoming the chaos.

Old Crane Woman is listening. Listening to the music of the chaos of water. It drowns out the cacophony of the world that humans have made. The sound of human voices; the sound of human thoughts. Old Crane Woman will tell you what the world needs: a little less thinking, and a little more standing in the heart of the waterfall. A little more becoming the raging torrent; a little less looking at it and admiring the view. A little less ‘nature’, and a little more natural. Sometimes, Old Crane Woman would wish for a little more truth and a little less nice. There’s a time for Otherworlds, Old Crane Woman says, but if you haven’t figured out this one yet, what makes you think you’ll do any better there? Start here, Old Crane Woman says. Start where you are. Start by listening to the music of what happens.

Old Crane Woman has another story. Listen closely, now. It’s a story about Fionn.

Once, as they rested while hunting, a debate arose among the Fianna as to what was the finest music in the world.
“Tell us that,” said Fionn, turning to Oisín.
“The cuckoo calling from the tree that is highest in the hedge,” cried his son.
“A good sound,” said Fionn. “And you, Oscar,” he asked, “what is, to your mind, the finest of music?”
“The top of music is the ring of a spear on a shield,” Oscar shouted.
“It is a good sound,” said Fionn. And each of the other men told his delight: the belling of a stag across water, the baying of a pack heard in the distance, the song of a lark, the laugh of a gleeful girl, or the whisper of a moved one.
“They are good sounds all,” said Fionn.
“Tell us, chief,” one of the band ventured, “what you think?”
“The music of what happens,” said great Fionn. “That is the finest music in the world.”

Old Crane Woman is building a nest. She’s building it in the heart of chaos.


5 thoughts on “Grey Heron Nights 5: Old Crane Woman and the music of what happens

  1. The song of a whale. A million wings vibrating together to keep a perfect temperature in the hive. Guiding, being and weaving the intricate web. Including me and drawing me out.


    1. Thanks, Lisa. I never know what she’s going to say from one day to the next. But it seems there’s always something 🙂 Solstice greetings, and wishing you a fruitful year in your lovely garden.


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