Tuesday, December 15, 2009


posted by Mary Lello, Tuesday, December 15, 2009, 4:00 AM

I get up early. The wee hours of the morning is MY time. I get the fire going in the stove, get the coffee on and then I'm able to sit and read or write without always listening, without waiting to hear the "Mary!" that happens all throughout my day. I sit in our picture windows that look out over the bay and watch the morning unfold.

The last couple mornings have been astoundingly beautiful. As the sun pulls itself up out of the Atlantic the morning bleeds into the sky with a layering of colors. The horizon layer has been a blood orange red that smudges into a ripened peach and then topped off with the palest yellow. Above all this vibrant color is a sky that is closer to a light purple then blue and directly in my line of vision sits the waning moon. For 3 days now I've watched this moon grow thinner and thinner. Yesterday it was just a sliver, like a raccoons whisker, that reflects the rising sun with a golden hue turning silver as the sun gets higher.

All the trees that I look through to this incredilbe display appear as a wood cut, each branch deeply silhouetted, black lines etched into the scene.

And then the birds begin to move across the sky. Families of crows on their morning commute from their roost to their different territories. I watch for my 7, who come in over the bay and head straight for the trees around our house. They sit patiently there until the sky loses all it's cocktail layers and the white light of the day takes over. If I take too long in going out with their breakfast then one crow will fly into the big White Pine directly in my line of vision and just sit there being oh-so-obvious! This is the same Pine that held their nest last summer. The same Pine I stared into after returning from the longest day of my life at the ER room after Jim fell down the stairs. The same crows who had me sit up and notice their nest and gave me the energy to move again.

I have a thing for these crows.

They are teaching me so much. For instance I've learned that crows do NOT eat just anything. They don't like peas or cranberries in cranberry sauce (I found one gooey cranberry on my car windshield - a little "see these? Don't like them OK?!), but they loved the turkey skin and other yucky parts that we humans didn't want to eat. They like dog food, Saltines and peanuts in the shell. They don't like my looking at them too long. Though one of the younger ones tolerates my looking up and talking to him/her far longer then the timid adults who fly screeching to a distant tree because I acknowledged where they had perched.

They talk to each other, they announce that I'm out there, announce that breakfast is ON! With different voices then the typical "caw caw" they seem to discuss many things. Last spring the young fledgling would "coo" to me when I walked out. I think his adults may have told him to "cut that out!" since I haven't heard this conversation in awhile now.

And then they are a lesson in patience. They wait so long after I've put the food down and return to the house, making sure there are no lurking neighborhood cats or other dangers to a Crow before swooping in and landing on my lawn to grab a morsel of food and fly onto a neighbors roof to eat.

They make me smile, every morning. Which some mornings is greatly needed and I'm very grateful to these birds for helping to change my perspective on the day at times.

Jim is looking real good these days. I posted a picture that our friend, Ted Tinson, took that captured that look. And his awareness, his cognition, is much sharper now. Jim is truly there in social gatherings understanding all that is being said...but he can't talk, he can't really participate in these conversations. This is such a harsh and cruel thing for him. He will get easily stressed if he is going to be with someone outside his comfort circle because the act of engaging with that person is so difficult. He wants me to be there with him or he'd prefer to not go. Not always easy for me when I feel so starved for alone time. He's an extreme extrovert, I am an introvert. But through all this our natural tendencies are being forced to alter - I must keep the conversations going, I must be the social one and Jim must sit quietly beside me. Like my crows, Jim and I have developed a language all our own and he needs me there to help others understand.

My Crows are arriving. I hear them announcing their presence in the 'hood. A new day is here and it's comforting to know that I begin it, at least, with a smile.

Loving you all back,


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