This morning kicked off much the same way as most do. I opened one eye to see that I was not sleeping in a palatial bedroom nestled within a beachfront mansion on the Costa Brava. No servant placed a tray of Eggs Benedict across my lap while tucking a linen napkin into my pajama top collar. I did however receive a face full of licks from my loyal hound dog. Given that she is all of one hundred muscular pounds, it only took her a couple of licks to cover my entire face!
After downing several quick cups of dark-roasted coffee, I slipped the harness onto Xena and we were out the door. It was a pleasant morning at the foot of the mountains; a clear sky allowing the sun to bathe us in warmth while a cool westerly breeze kept us from overheating. I was reveling in the serenity of it all when nature’s version of the car alarm went off obnoxiously. It was my arch nemesis the neighborhood crow!
Not too distant from our front porch step, there is a clump of tall elm trees growing in the greenway around a local strip mall. Every time that the dog and I come within a half block of this particular site, the avian civil defense alert is sounded. One specific crow will swoop down out of the treetops, circle about twenty feet above us, and begin cawing frantically. It then proceeds to follow us for the next block or so, squawking wildly the entire time.
I am not an expert in the identification of birds, but I am confident that this flying noise-box is a crow. I am also relatively confident that it is the same crow menacing us every single time we pass through. For whatever reason, I have a need to tag animals with human names. Perhaps it makes me feel closer to them in some way. Maybe I just need to get out from behind the keyboard more often. In any case, I have decided that I am dealing with “Christopher Crow!”
You would think that after months of walking through this area at least three times a week; my airborne pal “Chris” would have grown accustomed to the two of us. He has clearly seen that I present no harm to him and my hound has learned to filter out his shrill call. Neither of us has ever shown Chris the slightest sign of aggression or any form of threat. Still, this crow has proven to me that his breed is quite obstinate.
I have tried shooing away this pest. I have yelled at him and made angry sounds. I have even tried to reason with him; which garnered me some odd looks from motorists passing by. No matter what form of persuasion or intimidation I have summoned up; Chris is compelled to warn the entire neighborhood of our presence. He is then more than happy to usher us out of his self-proclaimed sanctuary.
Were it not for the fact that Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” made such a deep impression upon me as a young child; I would escalate the situation. However, the thought of having my eyes pecked out or being strafed by a feathered weapon armed with birdie doo-doo bombs holds no appeal for me. In short, I have learned to put up with Chris’s cacophony!
Every day we are each confronted with multiple Chris-like people. They sound the alarm whenever we approach, afraid that we might pose a threat to them. They cannot be reasoned with, since past experience has formed them to fear us. They make no attempt to realign their thinking; comforted in the crib blanket of their instincts. Eventually we learn to drown them out; relegating them to the wasteland of white noise.
Which side of the elm tree do you sit on? Are you the crow who feels intimidated by all that is new, in spite of past experience dictating there is nothing to fear? Or are you the hound who looks up at the noisy crow, wonders what the big deal is, and happily goes about her business?
Tomorrow morning will find me out on a walk again. This time I will be sure to have several crackers tucked away in my fanny pack. Who knows? Maybe there is still hope for my flying buddy Chris! Hey, want to share a Saltine with me?