Crow Appreciation 9/6/22

Ponderings with Richard Bleil

Although I never thought about owning one before, I now have a pink Barbie boot.  I didn’t buy it, and no, I didn’t steal it although I suspect that it might have been stolen.  I guess that means that I am in possession of stolen property.  See, every day, after rolling out of bed as soon as the sun peeks through my window (which faces the west), I go through my routine.  I give wet food to my cat that has been waiting since the crack of Dawn (and why she’s in my house I’ll never know).  Then I put a handful of cat food on the railing by my back door for whoever gets to it first (I have cats, raccoons, and even gophers), then wild bird seed and peanuts mostly on the railing by my side door, and a handful of peanuts on my front door porch as well as several places by my side door.  

Not long ago, by my side door, I found it.  A pink, dirty, well chewed Barbie Doll high heel boot.  It’s my understanding that crows, highly intelligent creatures who do hold grudges and communicate them to other crows, will sometimes leave gifts which some believe are tokens of appreciation when humans do nice things for them.  The peanuts that I leave are largely intended for them.  So, maybe they did think, hey, this human needs something nice.  Oh, here’s a chewed up dirty pink high heel.  He looks like he would wear high heels.

But I wonder if it was truly a gift.  It’s fun to think that it is.  My new crow friends are grateful for me and the peanuts so they had a crow meeting to decide on a nice gift.  But there are other possibilities.  Perhaps, for example, the crow found the sweet little pink shoe and wanted to keep it forever.

“Hey, Charlie, what you got there?”

“I found a pink shoe.  I’m going to keep it forever.  I’ll just put it in my safe, oh, wait, we don’t have safes.  I guess I’ll keep it with me and carry it in my beak.  I like your coconut, Larry.”

“Thank you, Charlie.  I’m gripping it by its husk.”

Then some time later, Charlie finds his way to my deck.  “Oh, look, a lovely peanut.  That looks delicious.  I guess I’ll put down my pink shoe and eat a peanut.  Oh no, I’ve been startled, I’d better fly away quickly.”

And there I am, with a lovely pink shoe that I want to believe is a gift for me. 

I wonder how heavy the objects are that crows can carry.  I found a cute little and very small four-shot Nerf gun.  Was that the gift of a crow, or a gift from a clumsy child?  I’m guessing child.  It was on the corner of my property.  Still, it would be fun if it was from a crow. 

Crows aren’t the only members of the animal kingdom that take a liking to humans.  I’m told that elephants think humans are cute.  In an MRI, the analogous part of our brain that lights up when we think someone is cute also lights up in a brain’s elephant when they see humans.  And speaking of elephants, I love videos of baby elephants playing with humans and rolling on top of them.  I would love to have a baby elephant roll on top of me. 

An elephant’s foot, by the way, is very sensitive and ticklish.  We see the hard nails on the edge, but in the middle of the foot, as I understand it, is open and soft.  This is how humans do that trick of letting an elephant “step” on their head.  The elephant can feel the head, and it would hurt to press down hard. 

Have you ever noticed the small rope tied to an elephant’s back foot keeping it there, and think to yourself, “surely that elephant could break that rope”?  It can, and don’t call me Shirley.  As a baby elephant, it is not strong enough to break the rope, and it will try.  It learns in time, though, that it cannot break the rope and stops trying.  As the elephant grows, the rope doesn’t have to.  It’s already learned that it cannot break the rope, so even though it clearly could, it simply won’t try. 

Sadly, I think this is a metaphor for far too many of us.  How many of us are trapped by something from our past, some lesson that we cannot succeed, or do something, and simply decide not to try.  We learned long ago that we can’t, or shouldn’t, so we don’t.  I wonder what it would take to break these ropes?

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