Cannery Row, Monterey, California


It rained most of the night, but in the morning, the sun broke through the clouds and sparkled off everything. Donna and I went out for an early walk, and as soon as we left the gate, we heard in the distance a murder of crows calling out a warning. It must be a funeral, I thought, or they’re chasing a threat. By chance, our walk led us to their location, where they dove and soared and made a cawing ruckus over something we couldn’t identify.

“Oh, look up there,” Donna said, “One of them is dead.” On top of a telephone pole, lying across one of the wire isolators, hung the lifeless wings of a crow. Two others stood guard while hundreds filled the trees with their presence and flew in circles around the poor crow.

“Yeah, that’s too bad. He probably got shocked up there,” I said. “Everything’s so wet.” We stood and watched the display of circling winged blackness. Suddenly, the lifeless wings moved, and the dead crow stood up, and without so much as a head-shake, it leapt from the pole and glided off through the sky.