Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thoreau on Crows

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After having written about our commuting crows yesterday (read it HERE), I was reminded of these words of Henry David Thoreau, excerpted from his diary:

December 31. [1859] Crows yesterday flitted silently, if not ominously, over the street, just after the snow had fallen, as if men, being further within, were just as far off as usual. This is a phenomenon of both cold weather and snowy. You hear nothing; you merely see these black apparitions, though they come near enough to look down your chimney and scent the boiling pot, and pass between the house and the barn.
And this:

March 4. [1859] We stood still a few moments … and listened to hear a spring bird. We heard only the jay screaming in the distance and the cawing of a crow. What a perfectly New England sound is this voice of the crow! If you stand perfectly still anywhere in the outskirts of the town and listen, stilling the almost incessant hum of your own personal factory, this is perhaps the sound which you will be most sure to hear rising above all sounds of human industry and leading your thoughts to some far bay in the woods where the crow is venting his disgust. The bird sees the white man come and the Indian withdraw, but it withdraws not. Its untamed voice is still heard above the tinkling of the forge. It sees a race pass away, but it passes not away. It remains to remind us of aboriginal nature.

Thoreau on Birds. Compiled and with Commentary by Helen Cruickshank. New York: McGraw-Hill, c1964.

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