There were a lot of little jobs to finish after regular classes yesterday. 45 of my band students will go on a trip to Victoria for three days next week, to do workshops at the music conservatory. I was still at my desk at seven o'clock and called Bill to let him know I was about ready to start out, but as we spoke, the branches outside my window began to sway, and it seemed a storm might be brewing. I told him I might take the bike, or possibly the bus, if the weather was too bad. As I looked out, hundreds of crows came flying by my window, moving much, much faster than usual. My desk is one of many in a large teachers' workroom. It faces west, looking across a little river to the industrial activity on the other side. There are also windows to my left, facing south, looking over the ocean to downtown Vancouver. Every night, at sundown, the crows come towards my window, and continue around the corner, making their journey east to a roosting spot quite a distance away, in Burnaby. They come in waves, and if any teachers are still there, I have to bite my tongue to keep from announcing their arrival. It always seems to me everyone should be rushing to the window to watch the phenomena of their flight ritual. I've seen less of them lately, though, with the longer days and later start times . My pictures never reflect the energy and focus in their flight, but reluctant to brave the weather, I pulled my camera, which had been packed to go home, out of my pannier. In the first wave, I caught only the last crow as it approached the corner of the building.By the time the next wave of crows arrived, a squall raged. Black blurs, tossed about like leaves, struggled to get around the corner. Thick grey obliterated the ocean view.
There was still a west view from my window. The lights were on in the room, and the reflected books and papers on my desk melded into the river whirls and rain droplets.
More waves of crows turned the corner, and decided not to carry on. I thought I heard one of them whisper, "Take the bus." They settled in some trees looking over the ocean.
Then, only one crow remained in the tree. Was it scared to follow the others? Too weak? An independent thinker?
The other crows did something I've never seen before. Normally, once they are en-route for Burnaby, they may stop and rest/reorganize, but they never turn back. This time, they came back around the corner to a tree by the buildings and boats. They were all facing south, their bodies leaning into the wind. I decided to wait it out.
A few minutes later, light appeared across the ocean, and the crows were gone. I took their disappearance as a sign that it would be fine on the bike. It was a rainless, wind-free, beautiful ride.
One picture to catch the evening light around the Lions Gate, before heading over it and home to Bill. He had a magnificent supper ready, and it felt good to eat, share my stories and pictures, and join in some Black Jack play before bedtime.