The street that the school sits on is lined on both sides with hefty horse chestnut trees. The crows reside in each of those trees, a community of raggedy nests and cawing neighbours.
They're intelligent birds, majestic when seen in flight. They have ties to Norse mythology and Native American legends. They're also survivors, adapting to the spreading reach of mankind. Yet for all this, they are often dismissed as villains or henchmen. We have books about rabbits, otters, and owls, but crows rarely figure as heroes.
Years ago, a fellow member of a writing class told me a story about crows. Nancy was quite elderly by this time, American with a slow, drawling accent. She and her husband had been posted in Burma for some years (her husband had some bureaucratic role). In the grounds of their home, an old, immense tree had housed a community of crows. She called them the crows' court because on occasion, she would find the pecked, bloody body of one of the crows at the base of the tree. She saw this as a sign that the dead individual had been judged by his peers and, for whatever reason, sentenced to death. This might sound brutal but is that so different to our world and our own judgements on each other?
If you hadn't guessed by now, I like crows. They make me think, imagine, and stretch my mind into another world. They give me a reason to lift my eyes from the pavement under my feet.
What about you? What do crows mean to you? What do they inspire you to write?