I have a special affinity; I have great relationships with animals. I understand Ian’s relationship with Rollo. They are truly wolf “brothers” who are able to communicate their thoughts and feelings. I’ve had many pets over the years: frogs, snakes, turtles, kittens and many dogs even one I called Elvis. She was a stray and I couldn’t think of a better way to convince Mom to let us keep her <g>. Of all the pets I had over the years, the animal I had the closest relationship with was a crow.
My father was a woodsmen who would often bring home treasures he found on his hunting trips. Sometimes, it was blood root or ginseng and we would place it on a piece of screen turning it daily to help it dry evenly. Sometimes, it was rabbit, squirrel or mushrooms and we would feast. I’m still not sure there is a better bite of food than morels sautéed in butter. Sometimes, he would bring home muskrats, coon and the occasional mink. We loved it! It was great entertainment! My brothers and sisters and I would sit on the cellar stairs watching dad skin the animals. He would stretch the fur over metal triangles hanging from the rafters. I can still smell the odd musky sweetness.
We were always excited to see what was in the pockets of his hunting jacket. On one occasion, he reached gently into his pocket and handed me a baby crow. I must have been six or seven years old and was made to promise I would take care of it daily. Dad built a pen out of chicken wire and attached it to the side of the garage. It was high enough that my pet was not in danger from predators. I made a nest out of hay and rags, climbed up on a step stool and began my retaliation ship with “crow”. I learned how to feed the bird with bread dipped in milk. Eventually, his food became the bugs and worms I found for him. I have no conscience memory of how much time I spent with Crow, but it must have been significant. He began to grow and grow attached to me. We went everywhere together. What a sight we must have been, a skinny freckled faced girl with a black crow perched on her shoulder. We went on walks together, rode bikes together and … went to the library together. I still can’t believe they let me! I would go to the stacks, get a book, sit in a chair and read…for hours…with a crow sitting on my shoulder pecking at the pages. I’m sure there were rushed and whispered conversations about what to do with us, but I don’t remember ever getting kicked out. What must they have been thinking? If I had to guess, I think it would have to do with witches and familiars! But, it never occurred to me to think it odd or wrong to have a crow as a best friend.
The story does not end well as do most stories about wild animals that people try to turn into pets. Birds fly. Crow would take off every afternoon for a few hours and then return landing on my arm like a falcon. One afternoon he didn’t return.
I can still see him, his shiny black eyes and shiny black feathers with a rainbow sheen, cocking his head from left to right listening to my thoughts and feelings.