How to Crow Well

Photo by Chris LeBoutillier on Pexels.com

Who am I to tell a crow how to be? A crow well knows his own mind and heart. He knows of the sky, the earth and the treachery of man. He can read it loud in their minds as they strut here and thither with their too-fat-to-fly bodies perched on hind limbs like the trunks of baby trees. He knows their treason too well. For they were once almost, but not quite, friends.

It all happened long ago, when air was water and water was not yet gathered into the seas. The crow had not taken to the sky, for the sky was not real yet, and besides that, the crows had no wings. Man was there. Man lived with crow on the ground, and sometimes they went out drinking together to the the local watering-hole. Which is to say that they sipped from the opposite sides of muddy puddles and croaked and called to each other across the way.

Worms and water were their fare for they were no quicker than your average rock when it came to catching the faster things of the land – mainly toads and proto-sharks the size of hamburgers that, for all their diminutive stature, were as quick as popcorn flying into your eye. Man, back then, wasn’t much much bigger than a small toad. He’d only just crawled out of the proto-sea (more like a salty lake behind the back a pile of hot rocks) and was not even up on his hind legs yet, much less swinging in the trees that didn’t even exist, it being too hot for that sort of exertion anyway.

One day, a crow and a man were sitting by a muddy puddle looking at their respective bellies, which were as full of dirty water as they could get them. The man was thinking of whether it was too soon to invent marmite flavoured crisps yet and the crow was thinking, typically, of clear blue sky, which was, for similar reasons, as strange as the man’s thoughts of crisps.

They both felt the tremor at the same time. They both jumped to the same height (about an inch and a half) simultaneously and then pretended, with almost identical expressions on their faces (the kind of affronted look that tomatoes get when they’re told that they’re not fruit) that they’d meant to jump in the air anyway.

When the ball of fiery rock shot from the top of the mountain that, a moment before, had been nonchalantly pretending that it wasn’t holding in the most enormous fart, they both followed its trajectory with their eyes. It wasn’t quite like watching tennis, but more like watching the sky anxiously on hearing someone shout ‘fore! Fore goddamn it! Move your blooming arse you fool!’ in their direction, And if that’s not plain enough for you, then let’s try this: the ball of flaming rock was heading directly towards the puddle beside which the crow and the man were sitting. And it was much bigger than the puddle. And the man and crow were sitting very close to the edge of the puddle. Now do you get the message?

Well, the man looked across at the crow, and the crow looked across at the man, and they could both see that they both had the same thought, and it was along the lines of ‘oh well’. But then something extraordinary happened. Something that hadn’t ever happened before. Something that would hardly ever happen today but it was a significant something nonetheless. The man leapt up, bounded across the puddle and, with all his muscles straining out like never before, swept the crow up and carried him, with inexorable momentum, out of the path of the flaming rock, which slammed into the ground just a few worm lengths (about eight inches) behind them.

Now, after all that, I bet you’re wondering now why the crow doesn’t trust the man, right? I mean, after all, he selflessly saved his ass in olden days and for that you’d think he’d be a tad grateful, yes? Well it would have been like that but for what happened next.

The crow, then as now, saw man’s mind. He saw the man think of the heat of the rock and he saw him think of the plumpness of the crow’s flesh in his arms. He saw the man lick his lips without being aware that he had done so, but he also saw the recipe for Kentucky Fried Crow appear spontaneously in the man’s mind. And the crow was, understandably, pretty piqued about it.

Well, the crow let out one big KAAAW! and he wrenched himself away from the man. And that was that.

Never again would they sit companionably around the same watering hole. Man realised that he could be quick when he wanted to be and got big from eating proto-sharks, eventually driving them back into the sea. Crow put all his efforts into growing wings and when he’d finished that he took to living in the tops of eerie looking trees and pooping on man’s head whenever he could. And when crow didn’t have any poop in him, he persuaded pigeons to do it instead.

But a part of them never forgot those simpler days when they just squatted and drank water together. When they come into contact now it’s mainly on football pitches after the players have gone home and man fancies a sit down and a snack. Man has finally invented marmite flavoured crisps and he sometime puts one on the palm of his hand and stretches it out to the crow in a tempting fashion. But crow never comes, no matter how hard man tries to mask his treachery with thoughts of the pure, blue skies that crow finally got. He knows man too well from olden times. Which is a bit of shame really, because a good many men today are vegans and would no more eat a crow than make snooker balls from left over feathers.

So that’s that – now you to know how to crow well. Just keep away from man.

Have a nice day.

Bench Views #08 – Clifton Park

Bench in a corner.

This is one of my favourite benches. Not particularly because of the view from the bench, but because of how the bench just snugly rests there – inside the smooth curve of the path.

A crow (or maybe a rook or a raven) came and sat here beside me. Well, as beside as a RookRavenCrow can manage to be to a strange human, which is to say ten meters away on the grass to the left of me. A loud caw announced his or her arrival. When I replied by patting the bench and saying ‘sit with me’ he/she flew away. I like crows. They are brave and they go quiet and listen to me when I think of wide-open, blue skies.

So, yeah – the bench. Well, it’s a couple of stone-throws away from the river Ouse (like pretty much anything is in York). It is a quiet place to sit if you have the ability to tune out the traffic on the A1237 ring road. Crows and flies visit you here. People and dogs go by, but don’t pay you any mind. And the trees just watch without judging.

I’d sit here longer, but I have miles to go before I arrive at the place I’ll find myself at then.