A Crow Looked at me. Its big beady eyes bore a hole in my skin as it focused on me and nothing else. I thought it must be inspecting me somehow, tracking my movements to work out what I might do next. Its eyes were fixed on me in such a way that it had to be trying to work out what I was, and why I mattered.
I stopped moving for a while, as if I were just a statue sitting on a bench in a park. I wanted to find out whether it was my movement that had interested the Crow, whether it was the change in me that had made it Look in my direction. But in my peripheral vision, I could see that it was still looking at this statue in spite of its stillness.
The Crow must have seen something else in me, then. That unblinking eye must have understood that there was something more to me, or else it would not have kept Looking. Didn’t Odin have two Crows that told him about the inner workings of the world? Maybe this was one of those Crows of Wisdom. Maybe it was trying to find out the inner workings of my mind. Maybe it could see all the sorrow I felt, and was memorising every little detail. Maybe it knew my deepest secrets. Those black eyes could see many things, I thought, as they continued to bore a hole deep into my skin.
The Crow kept Looking, and as I sat there motionless I grew increasingly uncomfortable under its gaze. It was Judging me. I could tell that now. As it Looked through all my thoughts and feelings, it was formulating an opinion of me. This motionless statue had etched into its mind the signs of a failure, and the Crow could see that. Everything that I worked so hard to hide behind my marble exterior was revealed: every mistake, every misgiving, every painful memory. The Crow saw it all.
I felt a sudden urge to hurt it, to run across the grass and kick this Crow in the throat. I wanted to chase it away, to end the Look that was rendering me helpless. It was a sudden wave of anger which came crashing over me, a wave that consumed my inner despair. I could not bear to endure this Crow any longer.
Yet I did not move. The Crow kept Looking at me, and I kept watching it in my peripheral vision. Nothing changed.
Of course, this Crow cannot have been an Omen. It was no symbol of death, no judge of my soul. Odin had Ravens, not Crows – they are nothing more than scavengers. This Crow was just a crow and its Look was just a look, the unthinking gaze of an animal that was trying to find out whether I was predator or prey. Nothing more. There was no comprehension behind those eyes, no cunning, no cruelty. It was curious at best, thoughtless at worst.
Yet, when it looked away from me, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of disappointment, as if something important had been lost. When I finally stood up from that bench and exhaled, I felt a loneliness even deeper than I had felt before the Crow had Looked at me. I missed its unwavering attention.
The Crow flew away as soon as I stood up. I decided never to look for meaning in the eyes of Crows again. Such beasts can never truly represent the emotions of man.