Monday, May 22, 2006


He usually hangs around on his highest oak tree, his tallest cedar or atop his private telephone pole to survey the far reaches of his realm, whose particulars have been pretty much the same since the beginning of crow time, as succinctly stated in the crow holy book handed down orally over the generations, all its meaning finally compressed into a single supremely holy word, which Dr. Crow utters all day at preordained times. As that one loud, harsh syllable indicates, everything has been pretty much the same since Crow Eden.

That is, until one day not long ago, when Echo trimmed some raw fat off of a bit of pork she used to make some gyoza, and asked me to put the fat outside; maybe Dr. Crow would like it. Not wanting his dark eminence to simply gobble up big gobs of fat, but rather to actually savor it bit by bit in somewhat of a human culinary style, I broke the fat up into pea-sized portions that I arranged in a cuisinally interesting geometric pattern atop the flower pot shelf out in the garden, so as to impart a new dimensional and proportional aspect to the Doctor's tradition-bound scarfing habits, and to see what he would do when confronted with it.

I watched for a while from inside the house, then did some stuff for a minute and all the fat was gone. I did the same stylistic arrangement a couple of times after that before I finally managed to spot the good doctor in the high-speed act. He didn't even fly away when I came out the door, he was so enthralled with his new taste experience. He had no problem geometrizing around the top of the shelf and getting off every last little dot of fat, beaking the shelf clean as one of his feathers and looking around for more.

The dark doctor hasn't been the same since. He hangs around here a lot now, and closer than he ever used to, keeping an ever sharper eye on all his fat-related things, such as the house, me, the shelf and the garden. He seems more attentive to my comings and goings now that I am his servant. When I come outside I can sense an intensified alertness in the vicinity, a proximal readying of feathers.

He huffs to a nearby tree to see if I'm doing anything maybe geometric atop his new cuisinal shelf in his enjoyable garden. Now and then he flies a new geometrical pattern low overhead in quick scans and hangs out in the garden generally, doing nothing in particular, just stretching his legs and admiring the flowers, kicking at the weeds, nice verbena we got there, arugula's coming up well; that shelf is sure pretty too...

But most of the time my activities are not fat-related, I'm only out planting basil or something non-crow focused, which rankles the feathered presence. I'm holding nothing that looks like fat: he double checks, tilting his head this way and that from the cherry tree, rumbling and mumbling calorific sounds.

I don't know how he's going to make it till the next time we have gyoza.


Joycelyn said...

I was recently sitting on the roof/patio of Alaska's State Office Building (referred to locally as the SOB) watching a woman throw small cubes of cheese to the crows. There was one who would manage to get four cubes in his mouth before he had to swallow. Naturally, he was getting the clever bird's share. I admire him very much.

erica said...

thanks for the most excellent crow observations. Awesome birds that they are. I watch them here in Michgan as they patrol the grounds in their magestic ways. Keep observing in your special way. Thanks

remora said...

The Japanese version of this creature,(probaly not unlike his foreign cousins)are seemingly indestructable.Early one very cold January morning(in Gunma)I spent a full hour watching a group of them, taking off,circling and landing from a pole mounted transformer - totally oblivious to the perishing,bone chilling would think they were in the tropics somewhere.I give them grudging respect.