I am grateful for the crows that showed up this morning. They were not interested in anything beyond the food the birds were eating. Or maybe they were wondering if they would win a fight with a squirrel and maybe have squirrel for brunch. Neither the squirrels or the birds were interested in the crows, so several mourning doves chased the crows away, something I wasn’t expecting. But, my mind in an emotionally charged state for the scenes I am writing, so I appreciated the crows reminding me of a day I could milk for pages.
When I lived in Boston, I had a greyhound named Gracie and our early morning walk was a caffeine-deprived challenge. I’d walk a path through the back of the woods to the playground in Ringer’s Park. When you do the same thing daily, you ignore warnings and living in the city that was something you want to avoid. Not that I was ever afraid, Boston is no different from anyplace. I’ve been frightened by an aggressive drunk in Mayberry.
On this particular day, we entered the park. Gracie was intent on peeing, I was intent on getting to the playground where one of my dog-friends waited with a large coffee with my name on it. She walked pass a great coffee shop on the way to the park. She would pick up a tray of coffees and the five of us canine-captives sit numbly drinking coffee and watching sunrise over the canine dramas. But, on that day I walked under the arch to the path and three crows sat on the arch and cawed at me. I cawed back, because this is what I do to crows. But, instead of flying away, they became more insistent. Maybe it was the lack of caffeine but I wanted the crows to shut up.
A few feet into the park a junkie stumbled out from behind a tree onto the path in front of me. I am not sure who was having a worse day. I was embroiled in a situation at work, Gracie had a full bladder and somebody needed money for heroin.
“Gimme you money.” He growled and showed me a very large knife. It’s funny all the thoughts that your mind is able to process at the same time. My first thought was that the money I had was for my coffee. I was pretty sure getting mugged would have been a good excuse for mooching but I really appreciated the effort the dog-park-coffee-woman went to for us. I also thought that he was holding a very large hunting knife and he didn’t look like a hunter. He was also showing it to me in a very non-threatening way but a big knife kind of holds it’s own in a threatening contest.
Everyone handles a crisis in their own way and there is really no way to guess how you’d react. I stupidly do not get scared, I wish I did -that way I probably wouldn’t do anything stupid. But, I was stupid. I blurted out: “Are you f–king kidding me? I am having the worst week ever and you want my coffee money? If you stabbed me, you’d be doing me a favor -I’d finally get a f–king day off.” I apparently startled him and he backed away. The crows were still cawing, which I think was also freaking him out. He then apologized and tried to explain his behavior by saying he was a veteran. Well, it wasn’t his day. I was also a veteran, who’d just buried a Vietnam veteran. It was a cathartic experience for me, not for him.
Remembering the adrenaline and the lack of fear in the face of danger was exactly what I needed for a scene I am writing, so I am very grateful for the murder of crows that arrived today.