Monday

Crow



There is a rabbit warren at the end of our road from which the cottontails come and go.  Housemate Katy, a small black and white lady feline, after discovering this treasure trove of fur covered pleasure couldn't wouldn't stay away from the surveillance she so rigorously established. First thing, last thing;  it became her truest clock, her eastern light, her place on the map.  She was living to watch these rabbits.

I knew it did not bode well for sylvilagus floridanus having this small, dedicatedly lethal predator practically living on their doorstep so I began my own program for deterring the dreaded cottontail killer Katy.  I yelled.  I chased.  I bribed.  I begged. All to little, if no, avail. I would have tried the infamous "third B" (blackmail) but it doesn't work with cats. She was locked into those rabbits.

Until the crows showed up.  Not speaking crow I don't know how or when they became aware of her machinations but they did.  And they didn't like it.  They started chasing her away from the warren.  It only took a couple of times for the four black, angry, cat-dive-bombing crows to chase her, running at top speed, back to the house for good.  Oh she occasionally gazes their way with what I consider to be a longing look, but her commando rabbit watching days have come to an end.



Someone was by the studio the other day and we started talking about crows:  how smart...how mysterious...how handsome.  Stuff like that naturally lead to the recent crow/Katy encounter. Well,
my visitor's face took on a sly and cunning look as she began to explain how this event was a result of the rabbit population as a food source being managed by neighborhood crows.  Darwin's name was murmured.


Darwin.  Oh yeah, isn't he the one who replace creationist dogma with survivalist dogma?  Intended or not that's what I hear, that's what the theory has come down to.  And I'm beginning to find this 'scientific explanation' as tiresome as I had come to find the old old testament.  What of chance, what of mystery? Yes,  mystery.  A to-be-glimpsed-at-best understanding of a life force, language and motive quite unlike our own. And quite possibly as complex as our own.  Or even more so. 


Once again I hear humankind's strident voice arguing for its rightful place at the top of the heap.  Any heap. Oh yeah. And I'm wondering, wondering that with this particular point of departure how the hell are we ever going to even begin to know our fellow earthlings.  And without acknowledging the force of chance and the presence of mystery how are we even going to know ourselves?


Crow cat-chasing-rabbit-protecting has not been the only incident of this type I've witnessed in this small valley.  If the flock of wild turkeys, due to hillside position or wind, fail to hear the approach of possible trouble, the crows warn them.  They warn songbirds about the hawk.  I've heard these things.  I've seen them.  I understand the nature of crow not more by these incidents but less.  I understand that I am surrounded by infinite mystery.  One I may come to understand in smallish fits and starts as something I am part of.  One I do not own and cannot claim.  And if I am to understand anything at all about the nature of reverence I believe I may find it in what I do not understand about the crow.