I know, I’m reaching on this one. Boxes on a beak? What in the world is she talking about? Well, you see, the Inktober topic is “box” for today, and I was set on drawing a raven since it’s the time of year and all.. so there you go, boxes on a beak!
When I was in elementary school, there was an aged, dilapidated house right next door to our building. A cliche, grumpy, old man lived in the house that was surrounded by a wall of pine trees. The story was that the old man hated people, and never talked to anyone; but he talked to the animals.
Strangely enough, there was a big calico cat named Cali who frequented the school yard, and of course everyone knew that the old man was responsible for her patient demeanor with the children. Cali was so loved, that my third grade teacher actually served her food and water in our classroom, and she would come and go out the back door as she pleased.
But the story gets most interesting when I met Crowbow. Crowbow the crow was the old man’s right wing bird, or so the older kids told us. Crowbow spent a lot of time at the playground because kids would save a treat for him after lunch and toss it to him when he flew down to visit.
Crowbow wasn’t just a normal scavenging crow, though. During a harsh Idaho winter he had gotten frostbite, and he had lost all of his crow toes as a result. Because of his loss, it was impossible to mistake him for any other crow, which meant that we always knew which crows weren’t worthy of our treats. One might think that we fed Crowbow because of his lost feet, but they were merely a means of identification, we all sought him out because the old man had taught him how to talk.
Crowbow could say his name, and something that vaguely resembled “hello”. The transaction of treats in exchange for words became normalcy after I had participated once or twice. I became familiar with which treats Crowbow preferred, and I always saved the last few bites for the feathered creature. But try as I did, Crowbow never warmed up to me enough to let me pet him. I can still recall the sunny day when he bit my hand as I sat in the field with dandelions in bloom. I did have many wonderful conversations with him, though.
I like to think that Crowbow and Cali lent to my future animal speaking abilities. I never met the old man in the rickety house, but I felt a certain kinship with him because he loved the animals as much as I did. Two special creatures that impacted my life, forgotten by a child and now remembered by an adult. Sometimes I wonder what happened to them. I wonder if they ever thought to remember me.
Inktober 2016: Box
Thanks to a horrible ache in my wrist, I’ve had to slow down with things. Hopefully I can get back on a normal schedule for blogging – although it’ll be chaos next month as I attempt NaNoWriMo. Oh yay!