Saturday, March 05, 2005


So there I was, minding my own business out in the garden, wheelbarrowing last weekend's split oak to the new firewood pile for next year (amazing how fast a face cord shrinks, yet how slowly it grows again), when just as I finished placing the last eighth of oak on the pile and stood up, Dr. Crow landed in the wannabe flower bed two meters away from me and began to rummage in the mulch, so I froze. He eyed me carefully... there's something abut that shape that seems vaguely familiar... but I'd stopped breathing through my mouth so there was no steam on the air, which made me just a vague and harmless anomaly in his landscape.

He nibbled at some just-emerging mitsuba leaves he'd uncovered and was edging toward the banquet of our compost pile, when suddenly the ancient crow in me ventriloquated a loud and authoritative caw. The dark professor practically jumped out of his feathers. He flew instantly to a low branch of the chestnut tree just above my head and searched frantically for sight of the intruder, briefly piercing me with the dark gimlet of his eye, but dismissing me as just another stump. I was not offended.

Then I cawed again as though from elsewhere and he bounced all over that chestnut tree, looking as everywhere as he could, trying to figure out who would DARE trespass on his turf, and so closely as this! The nerve! He boinged up and down with the utter brass of it. He flew to his cherry tree. He flew to his plum tree. He flew to his deck railing. He tore up some mulch and threw it away. He went high up in his cedar tree and peered from between the branches. Then to the top of his telephone pole, where he hangs out and can see for kilometers in any direction.

Nope. There was no other crow to be seen. He gave a couple of loud challenging caws. No response. He WAS king, after all. I covered up the firewood then, went inside and let him have the place. He knows where everything is anyway.

For supper soup I went out later and got some of the new mitsuba he'd shown me.

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