I have composed this post in my head a hundred times. It starts at the same place, at the same time. I walk out of my office, laying down myself as a worker on my way to daycare where I will pick up myself as a mother.
Between work and daycare are the ravens.
I’ve never quite worked out the difference between rook, raven and crow. They’are all filed under “large black birds that go caw”. They’ve always been around me. In the deep dusky August forests on the slopes of ancient Northwestern mountains, the caw of the crow is the only bird song you hear. I have sometimes wondered why there are no songbirds or warblers among the firs. There aren’t. Just the crows.
My vision of the crows pulls deeply from what I have read. There is, of course, Poe’s infamous raven. But there are also the dark clouds of menacing birds in deserted Hollin (points if you know the source), the attack of ravens in “The Dark is Rising”, the violent menacing swarms of Robert Jordan’s world, the Northwest Indian trickster and the wise bird of Celtic mythology. They swirl together in my mind in a circling upward spiral.
On my journey between places and persons, I watch the crows flock in the twilight. The flock is vast. There must be nearly a thousand birds. Sometimes they blacken the tree by the Merrimack so thickly that their wings are like leaves in summer. Sometimes they perch in strangely even spacing across the roof of the abandoned mill. Sometimes they circle in the wind in noisy motion, gilded by the glow of twilight.