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Monday, October 8, 2007

More manna

City crows gathering daily French fry road kill

Lately whenever we travel to the city, I notice more crows congregating in large family groups. From early autumn until breeding season the individual needs of most birds are suppressed and they become community minded. 1 So instead of a cormorant, it is a gulp of cormorants, a cast of falcons, a gaggle of geese, a covey of grouse, a colony of gulls, a flight of swallows, a host of sparrows, a murmeration of starlings, an unkindness of ravens and a murder or storytelling of crows. 2 So here is my story telling about crows.

We drove to the city for a few days this last week to gather with family and friends. In between times I ran errands in Madison Park and ran into crows, congregating with their constant cawing. As I was walking along the sidewalk an acorn dropped right in front of my face, just missing my head. I looked up to see the crow culprit sitting on the telephone pole watching. So I started watching the crows instead. Near the park I saw one ingenious pair dropping the hard sycamore fruit out on the street to be cracked by the next motorist to come along, afterwards retrieving the seeds. Further down the sidewalk I saw the trash receptacles were so full the crows had a party and invited all their extended family. It was near here the crows were contemplating the demise of a French fry run over by a delivery truck. This flattening produced no seeds but an opportunity for a game. It could be called King crow on the French fry which included a lookout partner or a game of who can stay the longest peeling it off the pavement before getting run over by a truck. Perhaps there was a claim on this fry before I happened to come along, a story behind it all, the finding the bag in the trash and distribution of it all until the last fry. Then the decision of who gets it and perhaps the dropping it from the air and another catching it on the fly with the last crow mistakenly dropping it to the pavement just before the truck came and flattened it, and every time they tried to get it, another truck came along. So when they finally had an opportunity to congregate in the street there was much ceremony in taking the last fry because they didn’t want this game to end.

I've rewritten this ending every day this week since the post to no satisfaction. You'd think I was hit on the head by that acorn with all the trouble writing I've had this week. One day I'm community and family minded, the next day I want some space; one day having fun, the next having a frown, one day glad to give up my needs for others, the next day, upset that I did or that others didn't give up their needs for me. I wish it was as easy for me as it is crows, to know my place and give way to community for a season. But then I realize I have available the daily manna of grace for me through Jesus Christ who died for me, not crows.

Ecclesiastes 3:2 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:"
If you missed this video, go to or you can search "A storytelling of crows"

1.Eliot Howard, Territory in Bird Life
2 James Lipton, An Exaltation of Larks

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