Either the local crows have trained me to feed them when they call, or they simply are telling the other crows in their murder that I'm outside, but either way, they were out there at about 9:30 this morning. A neighbor has taken to calling me "the crow whisperer."
Pardoe the parrot heard them too, but soon lost interest. Then, suddenly, he was listening more intently; you can tell by the way he turns his head to one side. Then I heard it too.
Geese, heading south in formation. I suppose I shouldn't complain; the first sounding this year was later in October than in last year, although earlier than some years.
I looked at Pardoe. He looked at me. From long history, I know we're thinking the same thing: It's a long time until April.
It's not so much the temperature, which has been mild here for several winters now. Nor is it the rain, really. It's the daylight – or absence of same. That's what gets me. The sun will set at 6:15 this evening. By the third week in December it'll be setting at 4:30, at which time we'll slowly start clawing the sun back, a few seconds per day.
What most people suppose to be a parrot's shoulders are actually his wrists. He shrugged his wrists at me.
"Do not go gentle into that good night," he said, with one ancient eye cocked at me. "Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
I always knew he could talk, but I never knew he'd read Dylan Thomas.
Like people, some crows migrate, but not all. The ones around here seem to ride out the winter where they are. I guess the parrot and I will, too.