Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our winged friend

It seems we have a new friend.

He found us last weekend. He flew down and perched upon our window sill-- the ornate French- style window sill, it's actually more like a guard bar to protect children from falling out-- and tilted his head and pecked the window a few times.

He seemed impatient. As if we should have been expecting him. 

"Do you think he heard the music," I said.  I had just downloaded, much to Ian's chagrin, the soundtrack to Fiddler on the Roof. We were cranking it, the girls had scarves on their heads, singing along to Matchmaker.

"Maybe!" Esther said, her eyes lighting up at the possibilities of such a thought.

"It sure looks like he's listening," I said. "And it looks like he's watching us."

We all stood there, watching him through the wavy glass, frozen, afraid to make any abrupt movements for fear of chasing him, this unexpected, but very welcome, visitor away.

"I think he's hungry," Esther said.

She ran to the kitchen and came back with a handful of raw oatmeal. I passed her in the hall, searching for my camera.

Ian slowly opened the window and the bird didn't move. He was definitely used to being around people.

"Hello, Crow!" I said.

"Mom, he's French," Esther said.

"Bonjour, Monsieur Corbeau."

We spent the next twenty minutes in silence, occasionally chirping or making clicking sounds with our tongues. I'm  not sure what we thought that was going to do, but none of us speaks any bird around here. We mostly just breathed, shallowly, and took in the sight of this wild, jet -black bird almost in our house.

His feathers were ruffled. He looked a bit as if he had recently taken a bath in some oily water. His eyes are pale, wolf blue. I don't think I realized, until now,  that a bird's eyes could be blue. Especially a crow's.

When he came back the next day, this time to find Esther and Ian out in the back garden, I couldn't help but feel he was looking for us. Or at least for Esther, whose hand he ended up eating out of.  I also couldn't help fantasizing, somewhat morbidly, that he had recently lost a human friend and was looking for a new one.

My mind has been obsessively returning to the recent news that the mean, cracking gunshot, I heard ripping through the dull air the other morning as I stood in the kitchen had been the sound of an old man taking his own life.

Could this crow have been his friend? Absurd, maybe. But somehow it is a fantasy I need to help me process this sad news.

Then again, considering the music that was playing when he arrived, could he be a prince in disguise? Those eyes make me think of the beast in beauty and the beast, such a light contrast to his inky blackness are they.

Since last weekend he has been back almost every day. Sometimes he stays up on the roof, or in the treetop above our house, twitching and cawing and making this sound that sounds almost like a baby crying.

Esther says he's being cheeky, just trying to get attention. She calls him Blackwing. It's a good name.


Emma said...

wow, that's a tiny bit spooky. From the pictures it looks like it's still a very young bird, with those fluffy-ish feathers still on the top of its head. Maybe you've all made a new friend?

Meowmie said...

Love your new bird friend. I think you're right - he was attracted by the music.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Maybe this man used to feed the bird and he has come to you now for food and friendship. Nice thought.

Megan said...

Well he's a handsome fella. I like crows, they're smart. So glad you have a new bird friend. How fun for all of you (including Blackwing)!

Woah. You heard that gunshot. How... intimate. I like that Blackwing came soon after. There's something sort of balancing there... with death, a new life...

Betsy said...

Oh I'm afraid I've gone and ruined everything. Blackwing has not been back since the day I posted this. I think he might have found out I posted his picture to the internet without his permission and he doesn't trust us now.

Anna Dibble said...

nice story, betsy. I'm pretty sure they all have blue eyes when they're young, or 'immature' as the scientists say. He could be someone's pet (maybe that poor man...) For many years my father had a crow named Franklin, after the president, when he was in his teens and twenties. Franklin was buried in Dorset when he died - in the 50s. I do love crows.