the uninvited

for once my crows
(my noisome watchers)
ignore the shrill complaints
of a wheeling gull
and crouch instead
on snow-tipped branches,
giving way to the whims
of a relentless wind

I’d invite them in
(my boot-blacked friends)
but they’d tease the dogs,
pluck my bright beads
from the lighted tree
and delightedly unwind
every blessed color
in the overflow of yarn

instead I stay ensconced
in dog-warmed blankets
and startlingly bright socks
and watch them accusingly
hunched in what I imagine
is a crowish glare
willing the chill of winter
through my windows

© Sarah Whiteley

The poor crows! It’s bright and beautiful outside at the moment, but it snowed overnight and there’s a very insistent wind out there with a decidedly arctic chill to it. I was swamped by all 5 of Coyote’s family this morning on my walk and I was sure to give them plenty of treats. I think Freyja was a little offended when the father across the street said “look at the birds!” to his little daughter instead of the usual “look at the doggie in the pretty sweater!”

Today is the perfect sort of day for hot chocolate and my largest knitting project on my lap. From where I sit, I can see the crows coming and going, stopping outside my window to see where the rest of their treats are.

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quick update

img_2964_maple-2

My nailbeds are a lovely blueish purple right now. The building has steam radiators which are controlled from the boiler room with a timer, the timing of which is still apparently being worked out. The dogs are curled up in the bed and Angus has taken to sleeping in a ball with his tail over his nose – very fox-like – in order to keep warm.

I’m about to pull on socks and shoes and my coat before I head down the hill to the library and return Denise Levertov’s collected works. I haven’t finished it, but it’s due soon and I’ve added it to my Amazon wishlist in case some lovely family member needs an idea for a birthday present next year.

I discovered recently that she actually transplated herself to Seattle at some point in her life and is buried in the cemetery where I often take long, peaceful walks. A couple weeks ago, I made it a mission to find her headstone and managed it quite quickly as it has a very distinctive sculpture on top of it. She’s not far at all from Princess Angeline’s (Chief Seattle’s daughter) resting place and she’s very close indeed to my favorite tree in the cemetery – a massive copper beech with the most wonderful purple-y russet leaves.

I’ve begun to do some temp office work while I figure out what I want to do and where I want to go. The uncertainty is a bit stressful as there are other forces at play which will determine what happens in the next 6 months. But change is stressful and I knew that would be the case. We’ll make it through.

The crows have missed their daily treats – I usually leave before they’re awake and get home after dark. On Friday, Coyote happened to spy me while I was waiting for my morning bus. He rushed over, stood at my feet, and scolded me for my absence. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything in my pockets to offer him, so he went away disappointed. But not before attracting the attention of the other people waiting on the arrival of a bus. Yeah – crazy crow lady reputation justified.

I’ve been squeezing in time to write and do my little watercolor sketches, though I prefer daylight for the latter so I’m afraid painting will be a weekend endeavor for now.

Off to the library! And then home to a hot, hot shower to thaw feet and fingers.

Be well!

tufted titmouse

peace interrupted

crow 2 IMG_6442

an expostulation of crows
unceremoniously drowned out
by the lawncare quartet –
mower, blower, chipper, and saw

they cling to the high sawara
in hunched recrimination
thinking, I think,
much the same as I

© Sarah Whiteley

Crow update? Well sure!

The crows are still in the midst of molting (or moulting for my UK friends). So they’re looking a bit scraggly at the moment. Added to that, their numbers are increasing as a precursor to the winter roosting so I’m at the time of year when there are no longer just 5 or so following me about, but 15-20. Most walks consist of me, two dogs, and an abundance of bedraggled looking, very vocal crows. This morning I had roughly 10 walking in close formation behind the dogs – it looked like I had my own feathered army. One woman stopped her car, leaned out the window after honking at me, and said “they’re very bold, aren’t they?”

I’m very pleased that I can still pick Coyote out of the bunch and more often than not the two babies from this year’s nesting.

A little farther north, Sorrow is still around and still comes swooping in for treats. He’s always been quiet for a crow and doesn’t demand or cluck or scold like Coyote does. I haven’t seen Mirth for several months now and I have to believe that either he’s gone his own way apart from the flock or he’s simply no more.

I’m enjoying my strange friends while I can. A move is on the horizon for me so I’m afraid my time with Coyote and his brood and with Sorrow is limited. I’ll miss them more than I probably ought to – silly, sentimental me – but will appreciate their raucous company while I still have it.

messenger

a truth-teller follows me,
skating from tree to tree

this morning his black
is ruffled by a stiff wind

and his message is more
raucous perhaps as a result

but even on quiet days
it is much the same

but one morning, he’ll cry
“a-ha! a-ha!”

when he sees that I
finally get it

© Sarah Whiteley

Has it been a while since I’ve given a crow update? It has! There are signs that Coyote and his mate are nesting, but it’s not in the same spot as last year’s nest. Knock-Knock (last year’s offspring) has made himself scarce again lately – no doubt exploring the world. Coyote seems to have accepted the boyfriend and has even approached him when I’m not there once or twice.

The relationship between Coyote and Freyja-dog is an interesting one lately. Freyja knows not to chase the crows (but will chase pigeons!) and I think the crows have learned this. But lately Freyja has wanted to play with Coyote and engages in the typical doggy play invitation stances when she sees him. A couple of times, Coyote has crouched and hopped closer and then away as if teasing her. Crows are completely capable of play and I’m halfway wondering if he’s recognizing that’s what my odd little dog wants to do.

Had a lovely (albeit very breezy) breakfast on the side porch yesterday morning with Coyote for company. I managed to capture a video on the tablet of him asking for treats. About midway through, we get interrupted by a neighbor (who gave me very odd looks for clucking at a crow) and I had to pause until he went away, but you can see Coyote get anxious.

Anyway, here’s Coyote wanting his treats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY26nP1Sb0M&feature=youtu.be

Monday morning, 6 AM

the geese came early
this morning, and loudly

already it was too gray a day
for the sun to make an appearance

the dogs, fractious still from being
pulled out into the dark and rain

growled up at the windows long after
the clattery troupe had passed

and moments later the rain
let loose and I with my umbrella

crept out the back door
into another day

© Sarah Whiteley

tallying the day’s efforts – #2 (the strained back edition)

for two and a half days
a perfect view of pine and sky

now into the third day
spent mostly in bed

ouch has become
an accessory to moving

realized not much
rhymes with ibuprofen

thankful I’m not usually
the rhyming sort

quit counting ceiling cracks
it’ll fall when it falls

still manage to be enchanted
by the junco in the locust leaves

the crows peered in
from the power line once

come out, come out,
two-legs with treats!

the dogs hang back
to keep pace with me

blessings walk with four legs
and have wagging wails

they still stare,
with park in their eyes

three flights of stairs
are suddenly epic

cue internal applause
when I reach the bottom/top

wonder if Hercules
needed analgesics

back to bed again
same damn pine and sky

© Sarah Whiteley

No worries – I am slowly improving. And the dogs have been lovely, though I can see they’re longing for their regular romp in the park. Poor things. I think we’ll all be happy when things get back to normal around here. In the meantime, thank goodness for plenty of books and streaming Netflix.

talismans

the leaves have dropped
burnt out finally after
the last conflagration
and the fog drifts in
most mornings now
a shroud for ashen skies
hangs about sometimes
until noon even
days like this call
for extra cups of coffee
with an extra spoon of sugar –
something hot and sweet
to cup chilled hands about
a talisman against graying days
and the sooner dark
thoughts of you
were once my August
in the icy weeks to come
now I have the warmly
snoring bodies of dogs
and extra doses
of coffee the color
of 5 AM in December

© Sarah Whiteley