I haven’t been posting a lot on my blog recently because I’ve been busy having long conversations with Sedgwick, one of the crows in our neighborhood. This would no doubt seem rather peculiar and call into question my sanity were it not for the fact that Sedgwick can talk. Well, not just talk, he can listen as well. I, in fact, often find myself saying to my new friend, “Sedgwick, you’re a good listener.” He invariably replies, “why, thank you, I enjoy listening to you.”
My first awareness of Sedgwick was a few weeks ago when he alighted on my bedroom window sill. I was re-reading The Great Gatsby at the time. Initially I thought nothing of a crow being on my bedroom window sill until the crow said, “Tell me, do you enjoy that book?” “Who’s that?” I replied startled. I couldn’t believe that the question just posed had originated from a bird. “Why, I did, of course,” Sedgwick answered. “But you’re a crow,” I responded. “Yes, I happen to be a talking crow."
The evidence was undeniable. I was sitting only a few feet from the bird and it was talking. To me. “But this is impossible,” I said after a long pause, adding, “crows can’t talk.” Sedgwick hopped a little closer to me — he had originally been in the middle of the sill — and said, “isn’t the fact that I’m talking to you now proof enough that at least one crow in the world has the power of speech?”
“I guess you’re right,” I admitted. We soon fell into a lengthy conversation on a variety of topics including food, the weather, and literature (Sedgwick bemoans the fact that he is unable to read and constantly asks me all manner of questions about books, with a particular interest in classic novels). On that first day I also asked Sedgwick whether he was aware of any other talking crows to which he replied, “lamentably no, I seem to be the only one, a freak of nature, I suppose.”
Sedgwick regularly appears on my bedroom window sill and when he does we immediately fall into conversation. I’ve learned a lot about birds in general and crows in particular from my new friend. He speaks lovingly about flying wishing only that I could join him in the air. “But,” he has said more than once, “I might just trade having the power of flight for the ability to read and for having opposable thumbs.” I’ve often been struck by how erudite Sedgwick is, after all one would assume that if a bird, or any other animal for that matter, could talk, it would be rudimentary English at best. My feathered friend attributes his linguistic cultivation to “good genes.” Thus far I’ve not pressed him any further on the matter.
Sometimes I read to Sedgwick. So far he has enjoyed whole passages of Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Melville, Kerouac, Baldwin and Wolfe. I’ve also shared the poetry, of Dickinson, Whitman, Plath and Frost. He is pressing me to read an entire novel and though reluctant I am considering doing so. I'll probably start with a short story. Perhaps he’ll enjoy Raymond Carver.
In addition to literature, Sedgwick is also interested in watching a film and tomorrow I’m going to start him off with John Ford’s classic western, Stagecoach. From there I’ll expose him to On the Waterfront, The Godfather, Annie Hall, City Lights, Vertigo, Goodfellas, The Big Lebowski and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I should think it better to completely avoid Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Sedgwick has also expressed a desire to watch sports, but first things first.
As you may have surmised I have, in a very short time, become quite fond of Sedgwick and he of me. (It doesn’t hurt our relationship that I supply him with all the nuts and bread he can eat.) When I read to my crow friend, he perches on my shoulder, always careful not to dig his crow feet into my skin. We are comfortable in one another's company and mutual respect and affection has grown between us.
One might think that our relationship is rather one-sided what with me reading to him and feeding him, but he gives me enormous comfort and is relief from my depression whenever he visits. Also I’ve always wanted a mentee though I never suspected that it would be a bird.
I’ve suggested to Sedgwick that he stay in my house and that a window would always be open for when he has to answer nature’s call or feels like flying for a bit — stretching his wings, as it were. But my new friend claims “family obligations” that require a bit of his time, though never further elaborates. I suspect that there is a female crow in his life and perhaps some offspring. I’m sure it will come up in conversation eventually. I have asked him about his relations with other crows and he has insisted that he gets along fine with others, despite his superior intelligence and power of speech.
You may be wondering if Sedgwick has spoken to anyone else but me and the answer is no. “How did you select me?” I asked. “I saw you walking home one day and I noticed that you had a bag from a bookstore with some newly purchased books. I also observed that you had a kind and honest face (at this I blushed) and further noted that despite your recent purchases and your nice home with a lovely wife waiting inside, you seemed a little depressed. I reckoned from that that you’d be the perfect person for me to, shall we say, 'come out’ to.” And so began our friendship.
I’ve yet to introduce Sedgwick to my wife but the time will come and I’m sure they’ll get along well. First, however, I need to get fully used to the idea myself. It took me until after several of Sedgwick’s visit to convince myself that I had not gone completely mad. As I’ve been writing, Sedgwick has appeared and has just now assumed his perch on my shoulder, intently watching me type. As soon as I finished I’ll read back to him what I’ve written and if you’re reading this you’ll know he approved its posting.
Perhaps I’ll have more on my friendship with a talking crow in the future. Right now I’ve got to get him some cashews.