I guess crows don't migrate for the winter, or maybe there's a small flock that is particularly attached to our area. They are big, fine fellows with shiny, ebony feathers showing iridescent blue in the sunlight. They arrive every morning looking for worms (or truffles, who knows?) around the dogwood trees in our front yard. They are extremely polite and caw good morning to me. I ask them how they are, and we have a little conversation as I go to pick up the newspaper at the curb.
Two summers ago, there was a raucous cawing outside our dining room. It went on and on – for so long that I eventually walked over to peek out the window. There must have been 50 crows in one tree in the copse next to our house, screaming away for a good half hour. When they finally flew away, I went out to take a look. There was a dead crow under the tree. They had been mourning their comrade. Okay, I know that sounds unrealistic, but dozens of crows; little, dead crow body; loud, persistent calling? Shamanism teaches that Crow is the gateway to the supernatural, and that scene makes you wonder, doesn't it? In any case, I am always careful to greet the crows politely. I think we can agree that this shows that not only will I be a crazy old woman with many cats, I will be a crazy old woman who talks to birds.
Not that I have multiple cats now. Elaine won't put up with that, plus, once she departs for that warm fireside in the sky, I will take a few years off from cat-owning to travel without worrying about pet care. I've owned a cat since I was three (the dear, departed Tawny). That's 60 years of cat ownership, and I believe I'm due to take a few years off until my major travel days are over. However, at 15 1/2, Elaine doesn't show any signs of slowing down. A temperamental calico, she goes in and out as she pleases, bullies my husband into feeding her too often and generally gets what her own way. (Hmmm, that sounds suspiciously like my mother.) In order to keep Elaine content, I give her catnip, pet her and filk her songs like the following.
'Lanie you're a big girl, funny girl, furry girl,
You're gonna be a nice cat one day.
You got milk on your face!
A big disgrace!
No one ever put you back into your place.
We will, we will, rock you, *ow!* rock you *ow!* <-- gasp resulting from being scratche
We will, we will, rock you! while trying to rock the cat
You may think that I feel breast-swelling pride at such poetic splendor, but I assure you, *hangs head modestly* it's nothing to crow about.