There’s a crow sitting in front of my house. He’s always there. When I look out my window I see him on the telephone wire, hulked and ruffled against the cold, still as rock. There is something so heavy and stoic about his waiting, as if he might sit there forever, in zen-like limbo, until the world turns to stone. It’s almost as if crows exist on the same plane but at a different speed, in a parallel dimension.
When I drop my kid off at school, there are crows waiting there, too. They know our schedule as if they had little watches strapped to their ankles. In fact, crows sit patiently all along the telephone wires between school and home. Instead of intruding on neighboring crow territories, they find the spot where my path will connect with their turf and wait their turn.
But they’re not waiting for the world to turn to stone and they’re not even really waiting for me: they’re waiting for peanuts. Sometimes it’s table scraps or a hardboiled egg, but usually it’s a handful of roasted, unsalted peanuts tossed from the window of my car as I roll by.
They want those nuts and they’ll do what they must to get them. They have learned that in order to get what they want, they must first catch my attention. I think this goes against their basic nature since they do not usually interact with humans. They prefer to blend into the background but crows are very adaptable. Sometimes I don’t see them, I’m busy daydreaming or fiddling with the radio or talking with my kids, so they’ve devised many tricks to be noticed. They call me to let me know they are there. (Hello! Hello!) They follow my car, casting shadows on the road ahead of me. If I’m weeding in my garden they risk the cat to make an appearance by perching precariously on an ornamental cyprus. They have found the exact spot on the telephone pole from which to spy inside my bedroom window. If I oversleep on the weekend, they know when I open my eyes, and they start to call: Caw. Caw! the sound of pure insistence, a racket that’s impossible to ignore.
The crows are teaching me by example. I am learning how to wait. The waiting sits inside me like a cold stone I have swallowed. Waiting is not a passive act: the tension and turmoil happen under the surface. Waiting requires tenacious muscle. And every day, although it goes against my basic nature, I make myself seen. I flap my arms, I holler, I fluff my feathers. I am going through the motions of visibility and every day I’m becoming more defined.
How do you make yourself visible? What are you hiding from?
This is my 21st post about my attempts to befriend my neighborhood crows. To see more, click here.