Not again….

Dear President Biden,

Have you ever crossed a crow? For your sake, I hope not. Not only can such encounters be immediately scary and unpleasant, but if your perceived transgression is somehow bad enough or the crow you crossed happened to be in a particularly snitty mood, you could be in for months (and months) of angry crow encounters.

Shortly into DJT’s reign on one of my early morning walks I was heading up a little hill about a mile north of our house when I heard two crows squawking and carrying on. They were screaming at each other and chasing each other back and forth across the street. Being the crow-naïve (idiot) person that I was, I blithely went on my way up the hill bravely ignoring them and their antics. Well, whatever it was they were upset with one another about, it was quickly forgotten and they both turned on me, swooping me and crow-screaming at me to the point where I had to shelter my head with my arms and run for it. As soon as I was off “their” block and had turned the corner, they retreated and I (very) fast-walked home without further incident.

Until the next morning. And the morning after that. And the evening after that. And every time I went outside after that – for months and months on end. My white shiny (bald eagle looking) hair was a beacon for the entire crow collective residing in Northeast Seattle within a mile radius of our house.

It was miserable. Of course every now and then they’d ignore me and I could get from the car to the house without being swooped or squawked at, but they seemed to have me on a very effective intermittent “reinforcement” schedule such that they’d leave me alone just long enough that I’d start to think maybe (please, oh please whatever god might be out there) that they’d moved on, only to have them re-establish in no uncertain terms that I was Public Enemy Number One to them. I was a wreck.

Well, eventually they did back off and I had several blissful years of crow-free outdoor existence.

Until this morning.

I was walking north on one of the main arterials in our neighborhood super early this morning when a crow flew into the tree just ahead of me. I reflexively gave it a bit of a wide berth but didn’t go out into the street and was breathing a tiny sigh of relief when I passed beneath it without it talking to me. Well, three seconds later the damn thing flew so low over my head that it’s little claws snagged my hair. Just barely. But enough that I’m justified in characterizing it as a snag rather than something more benign – it was clearly on purpose. I let out an involuntary (kind of) expletive and pulled my hoodie back up and tied it firmly even though I was in the homestretch of my walk and overly warm.

I didn’t see, at first, where the crow had flown off to but I spotted it a couple minutes later in the parking lot behind the bus shelter. It looked straight at me as it pooped and then it flew off across the street away from me (thankfully) only to menace two much smaller birds. Seriously, it just flew straight at those other birds for no apparent reason. They were doing nothing. I was doing nothing.

I hope to goodness this was a one-off and that the angry-fight-picking-crow doesn’t decide to broadcast my description to all its crow brethren because it would absolutely suck to finally be coming out of the miasma of COVID only to have to contend (again) with The Crow Collective making it miserable for me to be outside my house. Please, oh please whatever gods might be out there, not again.

May we be safe from crows and other unreasonable targeters of innocent people.
May we be willing to… I don’t know what in this case – not cast all crows as bad news?
May we be strong and steadfast in claiming our right to be out and about in the world.
May we (I) accept that rationality is not a given.

Tracy Simpson

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