The crows have returned. I heard them first through an open window yesterday morning. The determined caws sounded across the meadow, call and return. I paused in my morning ablutions and thought, Two years since I first heard that winter cry.
As I left my house, a clutch of them rose from the roadway, arcing away over the field. Soon the snow geese will descend into that space which will be flooded for the safe harbor of these perennial visitors. We slow down to marvel, raising our lenses for the chance of a perfect shot. The geese lift as one each morning to roam far in search of food, gracefully returning in the dying light of the setting sun.
I come and go as they do. I understand the pattern of country life. I can most easily drive the levee roads after the sun clears the horizon. I scurry home before the dimness fades and I can no longer discern the treacherous curves of the river bank.
In this morning’s gloom, I strain to see the outline of the willow tree behind my house. Grey forms shift. Long branches sway beneath the weight of the gathered crows. The owl who nests in the ancient oak gives one last hoot as she settles. I stretch stiff muscles and peer at the kettle. Steam rises. I pour the water over coffee grounds and stand in the kitchen watching it slowly drip into the carafe.
Two years this month since I brought myself here, to this isolated and wondrous place.
Coffee in hand, I walk over to the radio, press play, and stand at the window listening to the news of this momentous hour.
It’s the fifth day of the seventy-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.