Saturday, June 28, 2008

As the Crow Flies and Talks

Jim always liked to talk to crows. That’s not really as strange as it seems since they talked back. When he was a teenager, his aunt and uncle in Kansas City had a pet crow. One day the crow got out of the house and Jim helped his uncle comb the neighborhood searching for Jim Crow. A neighbor called and said a bird was on his roof yelling “Help me! Help me!” Sure enough it was Jim Crow.

On our many trips to Colorado, we camped at Moraine Park. One day I was in the tent enjoying an afternoon nap until my solitude was disturbed by voices. I thought it was children playing, but when I stepped outside the tent, Jim was sitting on a moraine talking to the crows. They were having a lively conversation in high pitched crow talk.

Last year, Ginger and I went to visit the spot where my sons scattered part of Jim’s ashes, per his request. Maybe, “request” is too mild a word. He instructed me—showing me the exact spot. As Ginger and I hiked to the quiet little meadow, a noisy crow followed us up the trail and perched in a tree nearby.

In the early shade of evening we walked across the bridge to the parking lot. “Did you notice the crow?” Ginger asked, pointing to the persistent bird.

“Yes, I thought it a little strange that he followed us to the meadow and back to the car.” I unlocked the door and we climbed in my Oldsmobile Alero.

“Me too,” she said.

“If Jim was here, he would talk to the crow.” I rolled down the windows to let the heat escape the car.

“I think he is here,” she said. And we grinned at each other as she spoke aloud the very thought I had been thinking.

The crow watched us as we drove away, calling loudly. It sounded like he said, “Y’all come back.” But I could have been mistaken because I never could understand crow talk the way Jim did.

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