The crows were probably the worst of my problems in first grade. They swooped at me when I walked, tiny and alone to school. Sometimes I would sit on the step outside the back door of our house crying to be let back in. My heartless mother would lock me out, so it was school or nothing. Sometimes school was cool and amazing, like the day I found the book “Little House on the Prairie” in the library and read it. Or like the times Mrs. Anastasoff would get out her guitar and sit on her desk and sing to us. Or the day the war was supposed to be over, when kids ran up and down the halls saying “The war is over!” I didn’t know there was a war. I really didn’t. I only knew about World War II, which had been over for a long time.
To look at a crow is to know how deadly and dangerous it is. It is much, much larger than any other city bird. It can fly up from the ground quickly, and it can fly down to the ground from the top of a tree just as easily as I might have bent down to tie my shoe. They are completely black, and you can’t see their faces. They are loud, and make unearthly noises. They gather in large groups in the winter, and they know how to get into a trashcan. I have seen a Seattle crow go into a trashcan with a covered lid, come out with a Dick’s bag, and open the bag and take out the orange foil from a burger, all in the time it takes for a traffic light to change. Crows eat all sorts of strange things, and they do strange things, too. Sometimes they will spend a lot of time pulling moss off of trees and letting it drop to the ground. Perhaps they are looking for food or gathering nest-making materials, but whatever it is, it’s frightening.