Off the Grid

I woke up yesterday covered in birdseed. 

When we all first moved to Roque Bluffs, living in tents while we built the house, owls were everywhere all the time, every night. But as the cats ate the mice and voles and flying squirrels, and snakes and snowshoe hares, the owls headed downhill to deeper woods. And now that the cats are gone, the mice are ascendant. And when I'm not there they store seeds in between the bed sheets. The collections are by type, sometimes millet or mustard or sunflower. One morning I woke up covered in flax seeds and thought I had hundreds of ticks on me.

A friend said he saw my old cat, named Turtle, off in the woods on Clamshell Road. Mike was hunting coyotes or anything else, and she was hunting anything that wouldn't eat her. Turtle has been on her own for a year now, and I keep hoping she will come back. My mind twists the sound of the wind in the trees sometimes into her muelling, but she isn't at the door when I open it. 

Today I heard a crow perched in the white cedar outside of my kitchen window.

The window is an old slider from some barn that a widow put by the road for free in North Berwick. I had that window for years before I put it in next to the pie safe, just so I could open it to throw compost out onto the two pear trees... And so, today, I could slide open the window to throw the mouse-eaten remnants of a bag of peanuts to the crow. But opening the window scared it away, circling and gaining speed to clear the just budding maples.

Watching the crow reminded me of the injured crow, named Crowie, that lived with me for a year when I was first a potter. Crows are stinky and gross, just like my pottery studio (at the time), so we were fast friends as his or her wing and leg mended. Every morning I would awaken to the sounds of Crowie playing with his or her favorite toy, a line of clothespins. After Crowie headed out to start a new Crowie life, he or she (lets just say "they") would come back and sit over the laundry line looking at all those pins.

The crow outside my window sounded just like Crowie, and I hope they come back to get all those peanuts. And maybe a few mice.