November is upon us, and I’m not quite sure what happened to September and October. But then I suppose a crazy schedule will do that to a person and before you know it, days and whole weeks slip away without a leaving any impression at all other than a chaotic blur.
Things have calmed down a bit for me finally and I am determined to get back to the habit (and pleasure) of writing. For the month of November, I am tasking myself with drafting at least one poem a day. Many of these won’t be posted – they’ll be put aside to be tweaked later with the intention of compiling them into a new manuscript. But it feels good to set my mind to a creative task. One that will leave an impression and will keep the days from slipping by without remark.
And one of these days, I’ll post an update about the crows. They’re gathering their numbers for the winter roost, so I will at least try first to capture a quick video of them tagging along for an autumn walk with the dogs (which always turns heads in the neighborhood).
Anyone who has followed this poetry blog for any length of time knows that I have been accepted by a very special family of crows. For the past 9 years, they have been clownish companions who visit me on the porch, caw through my window to get my attention, introduce their young to me, and tag along on walks with the dogs. I have had to warn any dog sitters coming in that the crows recognize my dogs and will want to walk with them even when I’m not there. I have been entertained, enchanted, and delighted by them – even when they steal my lighter and drop chicken bones on my head (I think that’s a gift?).
This morning the family lost one of this year’s young – hit by a car while I was on my way to work. This is the fourth crow funeral I have witnessed, but the first I have seen from start to finish. While I would have much preferred to have a different start to my Friday, it at the very least serves as a reminder that animals are as capable of close connection and of mourning as we are.
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the quince blooms
and two crows
sit on the porch rail
trading gentle preenings
while I am sipping
rapidly cooling coffee
my tattered Milosz,
thinking about how even black
might just be luminous
when embodied by feathers
and emboldened thus
by the merest blink
of gathering Spring
you may be wondering
how it is that quite suddenly
what very much appears to be
nothing other than a slightly misshapen
pumpkin (yes, take a gentle whiff) pancake
has turned up, or rather fallen, onto the stiff
blue wool shoulder of your winter coat
it’s just that
the crows were hungry
and your raucously loud
cell phone conversation disturbed
Charlie (the one scolding you) Crow,
causing her to drop her treasured breakfast
onto the unfortunate shoulder of your winter coat
the crows come again, perch
within the remnants of summer –
turned to rust and rue;
they’ve come again
with their own narrative,
their inscrutable truths –
strike their own lines
against November’s sky,
while we try blindly (futile)
to navigate stolen darknesses;
fixed, and non-migratory –
roosting in huddled groups
for the long and empty winter
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and perhaps it’s overdue?
Coyote and his mate (now called Magda) had no surviving offspring from the spring’s hatch. There’s really no telling what happened but I noticed more hawks than usual in the neighborhood, so that may very well be it. Of course, we have raccoons as well, who will think nothing of eating crow eggs, or even hatchlings.
We’re headed into the gathering time for the winter roost, and so I’ve got several crows who come along on walks with the dogs currently. But the two that are most present right now are Coyote and Knock-Knock. And it has been my pleasure most weekends to spend some time sitting on the porch with both of them. Coyote especially sits quite close on the porch railing and seems to like to hold a “conversation” with me. I keep trying to capture the little chortling and deep guttural noises he makes at me on camera – he makes them from deep in his throat and actually bends his neck so that his beak is nearly on his chest when he does the gutterals. I’m determined to get that on video one of these days!
I’ve been sitting out on the porch with the laptop, getting ready for NaNoWriMo and diving headfirst into research. I’ve noticed that if I’m not paying enough attention to Coyote, he will very boldly walk up along the railing behind me and knock his beak against the wood very loudly. The first time he did it, he startled the you-know-what out of me as I hadn’t even realized he was there.
Coyote has also started to show an interest in the toys Freyja brings outside with her. Yesterday, he tugged her blue stuffed dog across the parking lot while Freyja looked on. She didn’t seem too concerned that a crow was inspecting her toy – she’s so used to them now.
I never tire of these strange “friends” and their antics. I don’t even mind the occasional loss of a swiped lighter if it means I get to continue to observe them from perhaps just a little closer than most people have the opportunity to do so.
the snowdrops have been stepped on by some unwary foot – they are closer now to mud than to sky – but the crocus persists and the daffodils are showing their greening tips
I had to side-step several puddles of blood on the sidewalk outside the office one morning while the police tried to tape them off – a man stabbed apparently kept right on walking – I felt like I could relate
I wake most mornings at 2 AM with my heart thrumming like a sparrow trapped in a 50 gallon drum – and it is the strangest sensation to feel empty except for the beating of frantic wings – on lucky days, that goes away
Knock-Knock has learned a new vocalization that somewhat approximates a soft bark, not unlike what Freyja sounds like when she calls the crows – I am intrigued and pleased by this
Coyote has been extra amorous with his mate, and in another few months, I will hopefully have a new blue-eyed fledgling or two that he will let me photograph
I briefly met someone at the office whom I strongly suspect is a very shy, closeted smart-ass – this makes me want to invite him to coffee so that we can enjoy the comfort of being smart-asses in like company
three gin & tonics and eight pieces of sushi with raucous friends is better than hours of therapy; a peaceful hour spent painting is just as good