At 0900 EDT Tailwagger Jack joined his ancestors wherever those ancestors are. He did so peacefully in the hands of his personal vet and admiring onlooking staff who have cared for him for fifteen years. He was also attended by a murder of crows assembled on the wet grass just out front of the vet’s office. Now, some of my more attendant readers may remember a short story I wrote in 2015 titled, “A Council of Crows” which is one of the stories in “Follow Me and Other Stories” which is still available on Amazon: (I push the books only because whatever I make from the sales goes to St. Jude, Shriners’ Hospitals for Children or Wounded Warriors, as do my honoraria from speaking at colleges.)
In the story, a council of crows meets to discuss sending an older crow on his way Westward because he has become a liability to the flock. Then they assemble to sing the song of release for an old man who has kept to the traditional ways of nature. This is from a Native American belief that crows are the embodied spirits of humans passed and can show the way to the next world. Now, Jack, knowing the story well, since he was always my first Beta listener, never got on well with the crows, running them off whenever they assembled to feast on the pears in the fall or the blackberries in the summer. He knew crows were associated with death and he wanted no death around his house. Other birds, including long lines of turkeys trooping through the yard, never merited much of Jack’s attention but crows, he could spot them in the tops of the black oak trees a hundred yards distant, were not to be welcomed. Well, OK, he wasn’t real fond of doves either but that’s because they were on the food chain and I wasn’t allowing him to catch them.
As I have said before I may not be the smartest guy in the room, but Momma didn’t raise no dummy and I am a believer that if you look for signs you will find them. I believe in signs and miracles because I have seen them, but both of these ephemera are like sight-gags, if you don’t see them happen having them explained to you isn’t funny. Well, that’s kind of my explanation for why I think the crows this morning were a sign. As I put Jack into the car we were attended by two scouts at the top of the tallest of the bare black oak trees. Then enroute we encountered several more flying alongside the road and then the murder that landed after we took Jack into the vet.
The weather today is mean-tempered, crotchety if you will, 50 degrees, low clinging clouds, rain spitting, sometimes sideways in a gust of wind, but those crows were there until Jack went to sleep and then they left. Believe what you will, and I will believe what I choose, and I believe in signs and miracles. Jack is safely with his ancestors and I am comfortable in my thinking chair remembering him.