A young crow will fluff his feathers and duck and bow to win the dedication of a hopeful potential mate. If they succeed, their union is formed and the full extended family of crow aunts and uncles and future children and cousins is born. There will be challenges, just like in any happy home. Only one stick in three will be suitable for the nest. The pile of rejects will grow on the ground below. But once the task is done and the babies are hatched, the depth of devotion knows no bounds.
And anyone who has ever seen a family of swans knows the absolute beauty and grace of a mother swan gliding along the still waters, with the babies forming a line behind her, as her husband tends to them all, watchful and caring, right nearby. Then the mother briefly dips her bill in the water, raises and opens the tips of her wings, just a little, and invites her new born cygnets to scramble on board to warm their feet and snuggle down on the downy soft boat of her back. Seeing them peeking out from time to time, with the self assured confidence of one so newly alive and deeply cared for, one can't help but feel the value of life and of love.
I'll leave you with this Happy New Year gift, a favorite quote of mine, from the English poet Lord Byron.
There are only four questions of value in life.
What is sacred?
Of what is the spirit made?
What is worth living for?
And what is worth dying for?
The answer to each is the same.
May this new decade increase and usher in for you an abundance of that which is truly meaningful and valuable in your life. Only love.