Draft of 2005.10.18 ☛ 2015.06.14
For all the years we’ve lived here, cool autumn dusk has been the Time of the Crows. They fly in thousands, in converging aerial streams, calling out their plans as they come back into town from their days in the hinterlands. They’re seeking out one another’s company and roosting in some unlucky city block or suburban wood lot, sometimes moving to a new roost when it gets too noisy or offensive or unseemly (for crows) at the current one. There they stay the night in the dark warm evergreens or over the steam tunnels on campus, and crap all over everything, and then carefully wake everybody up in the morning flying off to their day jobs, back in the hinterlands, where they can get back to the important business of baiting squirrels and picking at eyeballs.
I know they talk to one another. I’ve watched them for a long time, and I hear the dinosaur in their voices more than any of their kin. They, I’m sure, are the smirking descendants of the ones that killed all the others off: the world-enders of the last time ‘round.
But of course that’s just my imagination.
Tonight’s the sort of night they should be streaming across the sky. It’s chilly, but not freezing yet. Clear. Good night to find a roost in town.
I count three. I saw more than that this summer, lying dead on the lawns.
Who knows? Maybe they’ve moved off somewhere else, somewhere safer. Surely they have their folk stories of previous plagues. Maybe they’re just lurking, waiting for this West Nile Thing, or the flu they’ve heard about, to make its move and build them their next bubble economy.
I hope so.