The average distance between life and death is 78.74 years.
Now, what do I mean by “as the crow flies?” Well, some of us are crows. We can go dancing through life, skimming the surface, flying over milestone after milestone through the welcoming air. Our trajectory arrow-straight, our cookie-cutter textbook journeys going off without a hitch, the view in front of us always crystal clear.
But most of us are flightless. Up close, the seemingly flat expanse of land unfolds like an accordion into hills and valleys, cavernous canyons and craggy cliffs, as complex as the furrows of our fingertips. We scale the mountains and spelunk the caves, clinging to the rocky faces of lonely peaks and slogging through shadowy, clammy crevices.
We can’t always see where we’re going. We lose ourselves in the forests and in the underbellies of yawning canyons. We make detours and wrong turns, get tangled in seedy sidestreets, relying on our moral compasses to always point north.
Our friends, the crows, don’t see the struggles we face as they soar above us. They don’t understand that we’re not going slowly; we have further to go. The earthbound journey is not for the faint of heart.
This is for all of us flightless creatures. We may not have wings, but we have strong hearts and quick minds and brave souls and voices inside telling us to keep on walking.
And this is for all of us crows. We need to stop skimming. We need to let our feet touch the ground and learn about what the world looks like up close, and what the other travelers have to say. We need to stop looking down and start looking forward.