This will never become a book.

2014 January 23 Thursday

What Does the Crow Say?

Filed under: reality — kdefg @ 18:58


Or rather, “Caw caw caw caw.”

Today I was walking under a telephone pole when I heard a strange noise coming from above.  It was a single burst of sound, somewhere between a honking squawk and a squawking honk, which felt to me as being both organic and yet artificial.

I kept walking, but when I heard it again I simply had to stop and find its source.  At the top of the pole sat a large black bird.  It made the sound again, and I simply stared at the bird while my brain debated whether this was a raven or a crow.  I had looked it up once, but I couldn’t remember any of the descriptions which would help me make a determination.  “Caw,” it said, as if trying to teach me a foreign language.

There is nothing in the vocalization of this bird which maps onto the sounds of the word “caw” as said by a human.  The bird has no vowels or consonants. Look at this list of words for the sound a crow makes in various languages.  Most of them begin with a hard, guttural letter, and most of them have a long vowel drawn out behind it.  All of them are a poor approximation for the sound I heard today.

I stood there, beneath the telephone pole, and watched the bird shout its thoughts to the air.  I stood there and counted the bursts as if there was a coded message in it just for me.  Four caws, three caws, five then two, with pauses in between.  I stood there and listened and toyed with the idea that the universe could be sending me a signal from the other side of the simulation we live in, telling me that there is a bigger world beyond what we currently see.

The bird was silent for a stretch of time.  I waited, and I asked it to repeat its message, because I hadn’t been paying attention to the beginning of its stream.  The bird started up again, with four caws, then three, then four again.  I wondered why I never heard more than five caws in a row, and then the bird cawed six times.

I did not write down the message.  I hope it wasn’t important.



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