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Fog of War, War of Fog
Portland, Oregon, 11/26/21
© 2022 James LaFond
The sky was near clear when I headed out to the garage for the comfort of this cozy cot. A half our later the rain came, pattering and then pouring upon the flat rubberized waterproofing of the roof.
One of the three crows that roost in the tree above and behind the garage, dropped down and clattered around between cloud bursts.
Come 7:43 A.M. the rain had stopped and the drip set in. the three crows that run this block were being joined by others, cawing in a boisterous gaggle, marshaling for some battle.
Excite, the shanty Irishman refugee from a world where dark hunted light, were ivory hid from the eyes of ebony at every turn, emerged into the crystal mist of morning, spiked with massive green cedars and spear-like firs, littered with the wire hung poles and dripping gay-painted shingles of sodden homes, to see that sentinels had been set.
Joe Crow and his two glossy black wingmen stood vigil. Off to the 7-11 I limped for a morning protein drink. Bringing back the boys a chocolate milk each, I stopped between the back of the house and the squat garage and stood witness to a battle above.
Three, threes of crows, roosted in the bare branches of three leaf-fallen trees, not in the towering every greens and not in their year-long-waxy-leaved flowering trees like that one above and behind the garage which bloom like May at First March.
The fog was—and is—a half hour later a mist so thick that no cloud, no plane, not Mount Hood or even the hundred-and-twenty-foot cedar behind the 7-11 can be glimpsed. The crow caws are asking, singular, one hoarse voice at a time. Not a single crow occupies the top of a pole, telephone poles ranging to 120 feet in these parts. They roost low, just above the mossy, roof tops above the dripping siding.
A high scree pipes across the sky, piercing the misty heart of the fog...they come, diving out of the white mist in streamline flights of deeper, brighter white, wings not wide and brake-worthy like the parachute wings of the crows, but arched and tight—pointed even, propelling the gliding foes down towards the pole tops and tree tops in great lines, size to nine birds deep.
The crows, waiting in their threes afright and brake, the outer-most target of the invaders, dropping to the rooftop, inviting a gull to drop so that he can be mugged by the two crows roosting yet above.
The gulls don’t go for it, content to clear the pole tops, where they will roost the day long, able to dive from multiple points upon any single crow.
The gulls enforce the no-fly crow zone as white sentinels atop the poles, while the crows hunch and caw in glossy bleak consternation, gradually dropping to the streets and shrubs, waddling around like pointed ducks, deep in the defiles where the gulls do not venture.
As I sit in here writing, the gulls have grown quiet—most likely pole top—and off in the distance, some three blocks towards Mount Tabor [an evergreen carpeted volcano of some 300 feet a mile and half off] I here start up a racket, a hoarse chorus of crow caws, what sounds like a full murder of crows gathering to fend off their glossy white foes.
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