Looking With Head, Heart, and Hands

Jane Rosen
623 words, 26K views, 10 comments

When I speak of seeing, I feel that the mind is open and in a relationship to the hands working, which opens a feeling of being more fully alive. That is what I call seeing.

More than one part of you needs to see. You can’t see with your head alone. You can’t see with your heart alone, because it’s very partial. You can’t see with your body alone because, basically, I don’t want to put down the cigarette or the cake.

One day I heard the dogs barking in the living room. Not a bark like, “Some­one is here,” which is an announcement. Not a bark like, “Get away from my stuff.” That’s a territorial thing. Not a bark of fear like, “Oh, my God there’s a bobcat on the deck!” It was a bark I ­wasn’t used to, a kind of “What are you doing?”

I walked into the living room and there was the raven underneath the chair at the dining room table. I looked at this big raven with huge claws and this huge Roman beak. The raven somehow had walked into the house before we had become friends and had gotten stuck underneath the chair. I believe it was a mom and she was coming in looking for food.

I looked at the raven and the raven looked at me. She had these beautiful eyes and she blinked at me. It was clear she said to me, “I’m stuck. I don’t know how I got under this chair. I can’t get out, and you’ve got two pretty big dogs. I’m in a situation here.”

So I looked at the raven and said, “Okay. Here’s the deal. You’re big. You have sharp claws and this beak. You could hurt me. I’m going to pet your back and if you don’t try to peck me or claw me, I will get you out from under the chair. If you try to peck me or claw me, you’re on your own.”

She looked at me, cocking her head like she was thinking about it. It wasn’t like she understood my words or I understood hers. There was something in my tone that was explaining to her that I was about to make a move. So I pet the back of the raven and not only does she not claw me, she pulls her claws into her belly and tucks her beak into her chest. I pick her up and I hold her like this [cradled in her arms] and she is ­perfectly still. I put her out on the picnic table figuring she would make a beeline out of there. She turned around, she looked at me, and she nodded.

--Jane Rosen, from "Looking With your Whole Body"