THE SHIGA CHAPTER
The Crow Association of the World (Shiga Chapter) kicked off the Big Spring Crow Conclave of 2011 at first light this morning, in the forest not far from my sleeping head. This major event on the corvine calendar began with a few simultaneous keynote squawks (one at a time? forget it; every crow is the most important crow that ever existed) of basic invective amidst a lot of sharp, dark complaints about the damned long winter.
Initially, there seemed to be a few focused attempts to address specific issues in the manner of a tolerably organized species, which lasted for about 20 seconds, until the individual calls of the beaked mob crescendoed into the usual mass of croaks like where's the food, what the hell you talkin' about, who's got the eats, anybody seen my husband and scattered campaign promises, it was difficult to follow a thread for any length of time. The crows have a long, loud list of ancient queries and complaints they have compressed into the wedge that is their language, which loses none of its sharpness even when grumbled to the air atop a telephone pole or other solo podium.
There was scattered mention of unemployment, natural taxes, scarcity of decent carrion, procedures in the event of earthquake, the long-term effect of radiation on exquisite ebony plumage etc., though I could be wrong about some of the specifics, there were so many sharp bits flying about, and my Crow is not all that it could be, I admit. I was surprised to learn that many of the participants were empty-nesters (a term humans like to use); they were cawing among themselves about how they never hear from the kids, health, careers, pensions, grandchildren etc. - all living elsewhere now, I gather, big topics from what I could glean.
I was also able to catch bits of rambly diatribes here and there on favorite crow subjects-- all dark though, not a witty remark in a cawload, but what can you expect when you convene a major mass of not-really-flockable birds? Like every other corvine activity, they just couldn't keep it orderly, couldn't take turns talking, couldn't arrange a hierarchy, the way most other species around here do, and before long it sounded like all the attendees were complaining at the same time, which ranks high among the noxious noises of the world.
The massive thread of negativity held few bright spots that I could make out, but what's new when it comes to crows-- coherence never really has a chance. They never get anything done, I don't why they even bother trying to discuss the concept. Usually not far from my bedroom. At least it lets off major crow steam, which can build up during a winter world of unadulterated whiteness.
This years' Conclave was a dark experience that made the rest of my morning so much brighter (crows are good at that), for soon a sun like pink amber lit from within was rising away the night above a silver ribbon of clouds along the mountains across the Lake, a sight so beautiful that even the crows shut up eventuallier than usual, ended the Conclave and went about their solitary grumbly business, now and then a loud Bah! sounding here and there in the tops of the forest.
I could sympathize.