The Keepers of the Path

Saturday dawned hot and still in Brisbane. It may have been perfect beach weather, but we were staying in the city for silly season festivities with clients that night.

What’s the next best thing to surf and sand? A (very long, very hot) stroll in the bush of course.

So EB and I headed to Mt Coot-tha, where a network of trails crisscross the forest, up steep hills and into valleys, and it feels like you could walk forever and never find a way out (especially if you’re directionally-challenged like me!).

It’s a favourite place for intrepid travellers to train those walking legs for  their trekking adventures. We spent many challenging hours on these trails back in 2007 when we were preparing to walk the Annapurnas in Nepal.

the black dog

We couldn’t hit the trails without our black kelpie, who may be getting on in years but adores her bushwalks and doesn’t know how to give up (she gets it from EB, I’m sure!).

Let’s just say that when we arrived at the Simpson Falls after walking for a couple of hours, she dropped into a rock pool and wasn’t going anywhere…

But half an hour of water therapy does wonders and, with a little gentle persuasion (for me, not the dog), we were on our way again.

Soon we noticed that two crows were keeping an eye on us along the trail. They would perch in a tree to watch us pass, then their shadows would slide over us as they soared ahead to wait in another tree until we were a few metres past them, then they’d glide ahead of us again.

Occasionally, they’d koww koww and eh-aw to each other, as if chatting about these odd, dusty creatures below.

I vaguely recalled that crows were believed to be a bad omen, a warning of danger to come, shape-shifting creatures with evil intent, or vessels for restless spirits. And who hasn’t seen Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, where a terrified young socialite is observed and harassed by flocks of the black menaces and other winged avengers?

But being shadowed by these two crows was strangely comforting. It was as if we were being guided by the Keepers of the Path.

Back to reality. Perhaps they were curious about our four-legged companion, glistening black like them, but with no ability to fly? Or were they just tagging along in case we stopped for a picnic and they could swoop down to snatch up the leftovers?

About eight kilometres later and no picnic stops, they were still hanging in there. They arrived with us back at the car – waiting, watching, and clearly unimpressed with our pathetic attempts to bid them farewell in crow language.

It may be a bit spooky for some, but I’m going with the other myth that says two crows mean joy.

Because there is definitely something joyful about the distraction of two crows, when you’re out walking in the midday sun, your feet are sore and what you really need is a stiff drink…

About the dragonfly

...wrapping words around travel, business, life and writing adventures. View all posts by the dragonfly

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