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Friday, October 31, 2008

Portal Crow

A crow of sorts, Corvus polystyrofomus, came to perch on the jade plant at our porch's entrance this past week and has been standing guard or passing judgment on all who pass through his chosen portal. So far we seem to have cultivated the favor of the bird, or at least we've avoided his disfavor and continue to go in and out of our house freely. Actually, for a messenger from the spirit world and for a crow, this one doesn't seem to have had much to say. But this being All Hallow's Eve may have loosed his rigid throat, or else my too-deaf ears finally unplugged.

At the stoke of mid-day a California mantis, Stagmomantis californica, stalked deliberately across the crow's neck, pausing at about where his ear would be if the mold-maker had thought to give the bird ears. Then the female insect, abdomen large with eggs, continued slowly down the crow's body, down his tail feathers and off into the crassula, presumably to lay her eggs there within the camoflaged obscurity of the plant's variegations. It was hard to hear, but as the mantis' last tarsus unclutched the bird's tail feathers, I could swear the crow quoth "whatever".

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