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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Friday, July 5, 2013

Four crows

About half the area's usual patrol has landed on the lawn. Three walk around, tottering a bit on their clumsy legs, looking for bugs. The fourth takes a dry bath, rubbing its belly and wings on the grass as if to rid them of lice. They totter and bathe until a shadow in the window sends them clacking and cawing away.

I shouldn't like crows as much as I do. They are loud, sociable, aggressive - traits I run from in humans. They specialize in the 4:30 am wake-up chorus call. They dive-bomb poor little foxes. Sometimes their cries sound like something or someone mortally wounded, or at least gaseous. They're black and ominous.

Yet I like them, not adoringly as I do goldfinches, not awestruck as by the dive of the osprey - but comfortingly. They're like family. And in these few days when we celebrate the birth of our country, when we tolerate the firecrackers and parades in the heat and fireworks in the mosquito-bitten night, the raucousness of crows fits right in. They remind me of all the places I've lived, for they were there too, announcing big events, chaperoning. They remind me of the Fourth of July, the anticipation of picnics, badminton with your uncles, sparklers (as close as we were allowed to firecrackers), lemonade and Grandma's white bread and hot dogs that have never tasted so good since, fireworks over water. The crows were there, picking up the pieces. It was OK to be loud, sentimental. It was OK to be an American.

Now we don't do much of anything on the Fourth. Patriotism has become a little suspect. Our summer evenings are no longer endless. Our enthusiasms have waned. Equally I can say that the ones that remain have intensified. We are content with quiet, and lovely views, and words on a screen or a page. Love is still there, and passion. But the hoopla is gone, except when the patrol flies by, a loud pack of eleven-year-old cousins bent on mischief.

1 comment:

kt said...

I also love crows! Here's a few lines from Dean Young's poem, "Even Funnier Looking Now":

Of the birds, I loved the crows best,
Sitting in their lawn chairs, ranting
About their past campaigns, the broken
Supply lines, the traitors.