November

Crows gather in the birch tree at the corner of the yard. It’s strategically located near water and food, tall enough to give the watchers a view over the creek basin below. When a hawk tries to loiter among the branches, spying unwary sparrows, the crows rally a posse and chacrow-novemberse it away. Even the solo crow assigned as a watcher will dart and dive to roust a raptor, while she calls for her tribe.

The birch tree is possibly 50 feet tall. The ice storm last December broke it. Through the summer I watched to see if it would muster enough canopy to survive. No, alas, it will come down in the next few days, cut into firewood lengths (though soft) and the scrap chewed up in a chipper.

There are other trees in the yard. November comes and all lets go to litter. One black crow perched on bare branches.

Without the shade and shelter of this birch, the little landscape is transformed.

Author: Kim K. McCrea

Kim K. McCrea earned her BA in English before embarking on a career in technology and public service. Kim won Oregon Writers Colony 2018 essay award, Treefort’s 2017 Wild West Writing Prize, and was named runner-up in Cutbank #88 short prose contest. Her creative nonfiction is featured in Cutbank, Tishman Review, Cagibi, and Watershed Review. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Kim lives in Oregon, where she studies the moon and stars and wanders with her Labrador in the rain. Unless otherwise credited, all photographs and images on this site are the original work of the author who retains all rights to their use .

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