Crow Bud

by eatonhamilton

Trying to take a selfie while typing… Hmm. Not so much.

Folks on FB, some of them, have been following my crow adventures here at Historic Joy Kogawa house where I am writer-in-residence. Today was a remarkable day. After our usual Shut Up and Write session (today with writers Cathleen With, Holly Flauto Salmon and Helen Polychronakos), I wrote a while longer.

I wanted to do three things here at the house: re-read Obasan, hug Joy’s cherry tree trunk while bare-footed and write a little something on the typewriter where Joy wrote Obasan.

Now I have done the latter two and I’m working my slow way through the first.

It was more clumsy than I could believe to be back working on a typewriter. For one thing, the force with which you have to pound the keys! I could not quite organize proper margins or spacing, but that hadn’t been the point. I loved the sound of the bell, the sound and feel of the platen level moving the platen for a new line. I loved the sound of the hit keys, and remember it fondly from my early days. Rolling the platen up, putting the page face down beside the typewriter to await another page on top, until, slowly, a manuscript built.

Though I loathed the process, later, of cutting and pasting documents arrayed across the living room and kitchen floors, on my hands and knees with scissors and Scotch tape, reassembling a document for re-typing. And the re-typing! Blisteringly boring and a complete waste of time. It’s surprising I didn’t invent computers myself just to avoid it.

Here is what I wrote on the only paper I have here. (How is it that I now travel completely paper-free?)

“One of Puppy’s favourite things is sitting on the Kogawa porch [for a] cuddle together. Today, June 21st, I heard a soft cluck above us. There on the telephone wire was one of my crow friends. I had no idea that crows cluck to say hello. I clucked back but this alarmed them. Then I put the cat inside to see if that increased comfort and it did. I rested my head back and suddenly experienced a strong sense of space and roundness. I sensed this was from the crow’s brain but my infernal analysis stopped it. Although it did not stop the nausea. I kept thinking about how the globe is round. All the lines were bent. There was a sense of isolation and unbridled space. I didn’t realize while I was “seeing” it that I was “seeing” sky or being in sky.”

Now that I consider this remarkable event again, and close my eyes to encompass it, I “see” it as an oval. I realize there is no encompassing it, because the roundness or oval-ness went on even though the sides of my brain ended. It was like photographing through an 8 mm lens, with a pseudo fish-eye (or maybe a crow’s eye) view. Only much later did I realize I was probably not only experiencing sky on a cloudy day but also flight. (I know, obvious, but I can be thick.) The world moving but me not moving in it, sort of. It wasn’t at all what we see even flying in a plane under clouds with a city below us where everything seems more or less intact as we know it. In this moment, I knew rather than saw (there were no trees or houses) that everything around this was tossing, that trees, for instance,  were in constant motion. Also there was a minor glassine feel, or look, to all of this.


It’s an hour or more later now since my clodhopperish attempts on the typewriter took a while. But I am still very, very motion sick.

Maybe all this is baloney, or the product of a failing mind. Or maybe a crow just allowed me into its brain for a few seconds.

One of my crows, this one, is a lot less nervous than the other (while seeming a devoted team), but I have no clue of its gender; I can’t even tell them apart except by behaviour. Their baby tried to eat cherries while this one visited in its intimate manner, clumsily trying to keep balance on the telephone wire while nibbling. The baby crow has a soft caw–I can always hear when it’s about.

Things I have discovered about crows, or at least these crows: ixnay on watermelon, blueberries, and nuts are a so-so. Yes to cherries and cat kibble and pecking on the garage roof for what I assume to be bugs (or it’s being obsessive).

crow1 JEH