Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When the chime of the anniversary clock let me know it was eleven, I began the nightly routine of shutting down the computer, locking the doors and turning out the lights. Finished with my personal bedtime preparations, I turned out the last light and moved to the bedroom window facing the house directly across our quiet suburban street. I put the blind up far enough to see out and stood still to watch the barely lit landscape.
A black cat strolled up the driveway I was perusing, not sensing any danger to it's unwelcome exploration of that yard. I knew the arrogant cat, I'd run it off the fence closest to my bird feeder countless times. At least it probably wouldn't be hunting birds in the middle of the night.
The next nighttime visitor was a stranger surprise. A fawn, past the spotted stage but not grown was making her way around the corner from the usually busy cross street. She seemed hesitant on the asphalt and stopped, tense when a car went by on the street behind her. I watched in amazement as she turned and went into the shadows behind the neighbors tree. I couldn't think of where she had come from. A very developed suburb built on farm land during the seventies left few places for deer.
Looking up again, I saw the signal I'd been waiting for. The drapes in the unlighted house across the street had opened slightly. I knew the tiny, frail and very elderly woman who lives there was seeing the empty street and my raised blind. Her husband was now in a care center and she was alone in the large house, often afraid. Since the day she'd told me she found comfort in a late night survey of the outside world, I've made the effort to let her know she has a sister across that road. When we see each other during the daytime hours, in the yards or at the mailbox, we might chat a little but we never mention the late night silent connection. Its a confidence we don't talk about but she doesn't mention being so afraid anymore.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Tired of my own questions about the life of the two and sometimes three crows who patrol my front yard, I took the advice of a friendly bookstore owner and began looking for information. I didn't find the book she suggested but I did find "In The Company of Crows and Ravens" by John M. Marzluff and Tony Angell. There was a lot more to know than I imagined. This well researched and well written book opened my eyes to the relationship between humans and the crow, or corvid, family. Fascinating.