3 - Caw and response
The double yellow lines today took me over a footbridge and beside the rusty parallel lines of the railway track. Nothing much to see in this forgotten patch. Except, my attention was caught by the strange and loud vocalisations of a crow, scavenging for whatever he could find on the tracks. As I watched him, work was being done on a scaffolding tower across the street, using a noisy drill. Each time the drill echoed across the street, the crow would cock his head, blink freakishly with a flick of his opaque third eyelid and respond to the noise with a rattling cack cack cack of his own. I went on my way, thinking of another crow I’d seen on a different walk, working away in a smoker’s alley, carefully arranging a collection of discarded cigarette butts into a pattern on the ground. Coming back today, I stopped to draw the pigeons forming a feathered halo around Queen Victoria whose bust decorates a forlorn commemorative arch in town, neglected by most, but adored by the pigeons who perch proudly on the Queen’s head and nestle into the folds of her stony bosom. As I drew, I reflected on the importance of the things we throw out into the environment. What meaning do these birds attach to our throwaway human sounds, scraps and forgotten memorials?