#21 waiting for peanuts

(image courtesy dpmshap)

(image courtesy dpmshap)

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.

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About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.

15 comments

  1. Todd

    I like these two lines: “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.” Yeah, that’s a good description of it.

    Joni Mitchell had a trippy song about crows… in Hejira?

    “exist in …another reality…” Carlos Casteneda’s Don Juan had a lot to say about the otherworldliness of crows… maybe in “A Separate Reality”?

    • Seems I am channeling other crow-watchers. Love Joni! And must admit I have never read CC, although I do feel a bit guilty admitting. If I do, where should I start?

      • Todd

        Don’t feel guilty about that. I’ve never read Doschievsky… can’t even spell him.
        (should people read stuff by people who’s name they can’t spell, or even pronounce?)
        I haven’t read CC since High School so I can’t offer much. The first book is Teachings of Don Juan but I remember finding the later ones more interesting. It’s also kinda interesting to me that now I like reading about aether theory from the nineteenth century, before the the sham of relativism was imposed upon academia, and how what may be possible in a aether (aka: zero point energy) filled world could explain some of the seemingly impossible realities in Don Juan’s brujo world. Tripppppp out man, pass the bong!
        I really like your first paragraph, and that recurring stone.

  2. This is my latest favorite quote. I decided to try it out on you.

    “The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of the earth and the galaxy of the stars, but that in this prison we can fashion images of ourselves sufficient powerful to deny our nothingness.” Andre Malraux

    I mostly make myself visible through my blog: http://destructivetesting.wordpress.com/, although I don’t share much of my ‘personal’ stuff as directly as you do. I love your writing!

    Mike

  3. “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.” Love the way you’ve linked the crows back to the human condition. In my meditation group the other day, a teacher quoted someone else who had said they’d “renounced waiting.” Which, to her, meant that rather than wait … she became present with what was in that moment.

  4. Although it’s inherently wrong to constantly try to “fit in” with the masses of mankind, I wonder if you might want to keep the arm-flapping, hollering, and feather-fluffing to a minimum. Of course, if and when you do get a book contract, and the first check that comes with it, you could then feel free to include “neighborhood crazy crow lady” in your bio. Or something.
    Must catch people’s attention to get what they want, but don’t like to interact with humans? Hmm. I guess I’m a crow myself.

    • I don’t think you get the book contract without waving the arms, TTD. The charades don’t guarantee anything, but nothing will ever happen if nobody sees you. (Do you mean you think I shouldn’t admit I like crows until I’m famous, or that I should stop writing about waiting?)

      • Well, hopefully you won’t get this reply twice–my computer’s acting up. I was just making a silly joke about you doing bird imitations in the neighborhood. I don’t think you should change a thing about yourself. You are great the way you are.

  5. “Waiting is not a passive act”. That’s profound

  6. Oh, wow. This is simply beautiful. And I, too, love crows. But then, the crow is also one of the local indigenous totems here where I live. Waa the Crow…named for the unsettling sound he makes 🙂

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