Sunday, August 08, 2010


I was awakened way early this morning by a rumble on the roof. In some places its a fiddler, but not here. Bit of an adrenalin shock to be awakened at the crack of dawn by a rolling rumble on the roof on your summer day off. Where's the rumble when it's a workday and I have to get up at this hour but might oversleep? Where is a pain in the butt when you need it? What am I talking about?

What's worse in this respect is that our roof is of tiles (which is great in all respects other than tumbling monkeys), so the rumble was tumbling me out of my sleep a lot more than it would have on, say, a strong metal roof or a slate roof, where the sound would have been a nice quiet sliding offward into silent space, and I could have gone on sleeping as per my wont, but no-- the noise, its heft and the sneakily shifting movements of the struggle led me to think it was a couple of grumpy monkey garden-scouts grappling in silence up there, grinding, clacking and rumbling the tiles as they pushed and shoved their way across the roof above my bed.

In retrospect, it was an oddly avocal fight for monkeys, but how was I to think of that, there at the edge of dawn, just dragged from the arms of Brigitte Bardot in 1960? So in the interest of saving my garden I tore myself away from the pouty BB and leaped out of bed, pulled aside the curtain and bleared into the dimness of a predawn mountainside to see what was up, just as a big black wingbeaktangle of two full-sized crows came tumbling off the roof, raveled together in a deep crow argument. I thought: today must be a crow festival.

The dark opponents fell quietly together until about halfway down they broke off and flew to the garden where they sat on different poles and at last began speaking loudly as always, arguing about corvine stuff like "It's my turn to check Brady's kitchen garbage!" the crow festival equivalent of "I was supposed to judge the wet t-shirt contest!" Anyway, all day the clouds of crows hung around here and there in bunches on trees and poles and in rice fields, chatting about old times, some kind of festival for sure, they all wore the usual costume, that black outfit of feathers, beak and beady eyes, you know the one, they seemed to get a kick out of it, made tricky noises all day long that distracted me wherever I was, I'd hear a weird sound, turn and say what was that at the door, the window, in the trees, the garden, out on the road etc.

Even now they're yakking long distances everywhere about something important in the crow culture. What could this festival be about? What's so important to crows? What could they possibly respect so much? Carrion is always randomly available, so what's to celebrate? Plus it's way too early for the human rice harvest and crows themselves don't produce anything but noise and more crows. Maybe it's a wild religious event-- but if I even hint at anything spiritual to crows, they just throw back their heads and caw, and caw, and caw...


Kalei's Best Friend said...

Bet their having a deep discussion about the man whose garden they are dying to get to.....I've got crows too. Huge ones that chase off the little birds from the feeders.. And yes, I am out there chasing them off w/ a hose that is 100' long.. They're surprised by the water pressure as well as the crazy lady chasing them..

Robert Brady said...

Stay crazy, Kalei... especially when dealing with crows.