Once a crow sat on a branch and contemplated the condition of man. Not man in general for the moment, but the condition of the fellow looking directly up at it with a rock in his hand. What was he thinking? After all, if it came to a showdown, how far could he throw that stone? And how fast could he run to escape what came back at him from above? He’d be wise just to drop it and move on without further bluster, leaving the crow to continue crying out over the rooftops its warnings of doom. Was anybody listening, though, besides those reaching for their own stones, that was? Where else were they going to get advice like the crow’s, it wanted to know. Setting great store in having both feet firmly on the ground, how far could they possible see by comparison to it or any other crow? Not half far enough, judging by the evidence. If it wasn’t at some bird or animal they’d thrown their stones, it was at each other, never looking far enough ahead to grasp the consequences. Hit-and-run skirmishes over some little scrap of land or some scrap of an idea one side took for absolute truth and the other for total nonsense. What a way to spend your few years here on earth. Searching all the time for a bigger and better rock to hurl. But this suicide pact by an entire species wasn’t what moved the crow to dark thoughts on humankind. They’d increasingly overscavenged the place, hadn’t they, and few would be surprised if they ultimately did themselves in fighting over the last bit of it to be had. More pressing, however, at least to the crow’s mind if not to theirs, was the likelihood they’d take any number of other species with them in their shortsightedness. There’d been a good deal of discussion about just such a possibility among the birds already, led by eagles and hawks on one side and ostriches and turkeys on the other. Where one group argued for some kind of preemptive strike to impress upon humans the danger of their ways, their opponents held forth at length about the risks involved in antagonizing so vengeful a creature as man. Which left the crows and other carrion birds somewhere in the middle. They were hardly blind to the stakes involved but mindful as well of how much they owed to the subjects of this debate. Weren’t humans, in their own inimitable fashion, the best friends crows had ever known? By contrast, no bird was half so unstinting in what it shared, and most times without a second thought. Such largesse, on open display in every garbage dump and every street of cities and small towns alike, should not go unacknowledged. It almost seemed like humans couldn’t take a bite of anything themselves without leaving behind an equal portion for the crows, often more. Sometimes much more. Never hesitating to spread the bounty far and wide. So what was this fellow now winding up to throw his stone thinking? Didn’t he recognize his one true soul mate on the planet?
Copyright © 2008 by Geoffrey Grosshans