Thursday, November 29, 2007

Corvids


(Puzzle piece number 3 of 38.)
Have you ever thought that something was other than it really is?

Like taking a sip of your friend’s water at a fraternity party, only to spew it out because it’s really vodka? Or reaching down to pick up a quarter, when it’s really a punched-out piece of metal? Or scratching yourself when you think you’re all alone? (More about the camera in the corner and that topic later.)

The other morning, my daughter and I were slowly driving south near her high school when we saw a murder of crows gathering. (Who makes up the names of animal groups, anyway? At least a skulk of foxes and a crash of rhinos make sense!) As most know, corvids often gather because road kill is in sight. You can just hear them talking.

“Hey, Mel,” one crow says to his buddy in a New England accent. “Looky over there. Lunch.”

And Mel cranes his head in the direction where Harry is gazing and replies, “Great! I haven’t eaten good carrion since that skunk last week. Man, my eyes are still burnin’. Let’s gather the group and grab a bite.” So Mel, Harry, and the rest of their horde fly over to check it out.

They’d gathered on the east side of the road and were starting to fly over the dark elliptical shape on the west side of the road when they saw us driving toward it. I sorrowfully said to my daughter, “Aw, how sad. Some animal must have gotten hit.”

Typically in our neighborhood, it’s deer that have the highest fatality or injury rate, but today the target was more the size and color of a cat. As we drove closer, one of the feathered cleanup crew members swooped near us, as if to say, “Don’t run over my lunch!” But my daughter looked down and said, “It’s a muddy, rolled-up sweatshirt.”

We came apart laughing, now imagining what the corvids were saying to each other after trying to take a bite.

“Blech! Ew! What is this?” Harry says in his Bostonian tone. “Who played this dirty trick on us? Here I had my appetite soarin’, and what do I get? A chunk of cloth one of those big, featherless things wears. That’s it! I’m aiming at some windshields.” And off Harry flies with the rest of his parcel. And here parcel means a “group of…animals.”

So next time you think you’re taking a sip of beer, smell it first. It may not be what you expected.

copyright © 2007 by Auntie Eartha. All rights reserved.

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