Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Watch Crow



"I was bow hunting in my camos near home when I came across something I had never seen before.  A clump of thick bushes about eight feet in diameter was growing in the woods that were fairly open.  I noticed a tunnel through the center and in the middle of the clump, the ground was bare and smooth with a nice big deer print in it.  Aha! A buck bed! I crawled in to wait for the hapless deer.  In the meantime, up on the hill, a flock of crows were noisily ganging up on some predator as they like to do.  The noise came closer and then ceased.  I could see the crows flying by so I gave a suckling noise on my hand that sounds something like a rabbit being killed.  The crows were still high from their previous activity and immediately stopped to investigate.  One remained on the tree top as a lookout while the others flew lower, from branch to branch. They craned their necks back and forth just like humans, bobbing their heads trying to see what was killing the rabbit.  This was very humorous and I could barely keep from laughing out loud.  Just then, a wood hawk flew by and smacked the watch crow from his perch causing the crow to fall about three feet.  The crow finally recovered with a squawk, then he and his brothers silently flew away."
                                                                ...written by my Dad ~


I jogged today.  Today was good, the weather was warm, the sun was out.  I wanted to ride Blue but he was too wired so after a quick lunge, I turned the ponies out to roll in the mud and graze.  I jogged 2 miles, no stopping with another mile at just a walk.  No smooth treadmill either, I jogged down our lane.  It was difficult going up the last hill but there was no stopping.  It was tough but it felt good.  It had to feel good because three years ago today, February 13th of 2008 was the worse day of my life.  I had to make something good of this day.  For now on a good thing will happen on this day.  I spotted the usual 'watch crow' this morning in our backyard and just smiled to myself.  I think of him now when I see crows, especially a 'watch crow'.  I say a little prayer and tell him I love him...I know he is with me in spirit, the 'clues' are always there. 

Dad with me after my bath

Dad with Jeff my cousin in Vermont
Today I received one of those clues only I didn't know it at the time.  During my walk I saw a huge hawk silently fly away from the lane as I approached his feeding territory.  I knew Dad would have loved to see the mighty wing span from a worm's eye view and I was thrilled to have spotted him.  I don't often get to see that hawk unless I'm within the confines of our car.  I knew I wanted to share his crow story but wasn't sure I could find it and it just hit me about the hawk. (sorry, no pun intended) I hadn't read the story for a long time and just remembered something about a 'watch crow'.
Vermont Christmas and smoking....
So here's to you my dear sweet Father.  Your last child will always carry with her your deep love for the great outdoors, the animals, the trees, the wildflowers and the birds.  I walk my woods just as you walked your hunting grounds.  I am quick with the eye just as you taught me to be keen and observant. I can be very quiet and almost invisible just as you were with those crows.  If only you loved your strong capable body as I do mine.  Unlike you, I will never smoke.  I will exercise for the remainder of my years and preserve my heart to my best ability.  Damn those cigarettes Dad, you had the genes to live to a hundred.  I miss you tremendously.  No one else in our family loved my wildlife stories as you did.  No one else shared in the delight of finding a tiny hidden wildflower.  No one else understood the sheer joy of being surrounded by nature's beauty and the magical feeling from listening to stillness of the woods.   The wall divides us now.  The silent wall where we on earth cannot see, cannot hear, cannot use our senses to penetrate this unknown world.  Only faith can bring us together until it is my time.  So keep on giving me clues, keep on reminding me that you are with me in spirit.  And keep on sending me the 'watch crow' who loves to perch on top of the tallest tree in our backyard. 
Summer evening at the table with my kitty doll that great Grammy made.

27 comments:

Flat Creek Farm said...

This is a wonderful post. I see now where your gift for writing comes from :) Love the pics too! What a great guy he must have been, and what wonderful memories you are blessed with. Hugs, Tammy

Buttons said...

Oh My Goodness I could have wrote this. I lost my Dad the hunter 3 years ago. Smoking too, I posted a blog about the heartache of that day Oct. 15 then again on his birthday Dec. 19th. It always cheers me up to see a hawk as I think it is a sign from him that he is fine and watching over me. I cannot believe how we have so much in common. I miss my Dad terribly.
Your Father sounds like a great man. I know how hard this is.
Memories are all we have and we are lucky to have good ones. Take care. B

Honest Abe Lincoln said...

I don't know quite where to start. But I think I inherited some of my interest in flowers and birds from my mother as my father never talked about things like that.

I smoked most of my life. The Army gave me free cigarettes in with my daily C-rations (box of food).

I watched crows here since 1962. They are territorial. There is one flock here in our small town and that's it. The hawks don't bother then as the hawks here are the smaller coopers hawks and the even smaller sharp-shinned hawks.

But I learned about them using dog food. I use corn and dog food and scattered it out in the back yard but in clumps or piles. Since the crows fly over each day they spotted it.

And the posted their lookout in the big tree behind my house and then one went from one spot to another until he got to the food and began to eat. Others followed suit.

One of them picked up 9 peanuts (shelled and raw) and took them up and laid them out on a branch for the lookout to eat. I photographed the whole thing. So they are like families and the first year babies help the parents find food and the second year babies do the lookout work and everything else the elders don't want to do.

I really enjoyed your father's writing. I hope you will visit the blog I linked on my blog as that guy is one fabulous photographer.

Feral Female said...

What a great post! You certainly have your dads flair for story-telling!

Louise said...

Oh, that was a lovely post. Your love for your Dad shined through the entire thing. Thank you for sharing him with us.

My Dad was like yours, a lover of all things wild and free. He smoked but, thankfully, quit as soon as all the research came out in the early '60's about how bad it was for your health. I think that was one of the greatest gifts he could have given his family.

The Boston Lady said...

What a wonderful tribute to your handsome dad. So sorry he is not with you here in the physical, but it brightens my day to read how you "see" him watching over you. I lost my dad 7 years ago - it's a hard thing. Ann

Lori Skoog said...

Beautifully written. I loved the stories about your Dad and the Watch Crow. You must have had a great relationship.

Jill said...

Loved the "Watch Crow" piece! I am sure you miss your dad greatly. Beautiful post.

John Gray said...

nicely written!

Bee Lady said...

Hi there. Thank you for visiting my blog. I'm a hobby beekeeper rather than a business beekeeper, so I don't have as many hives to keep up. I try a little harder to keep them looking nice.

Well your post about your Dad is very touching. My Dad smoked, but quit when I was 18. I'm so glad he did as two of his brothers died of emphezema and his Dad died of lung cancer. And three years ago I lost my favorite Aunt to COPD. It's such a bad habit and a horrible addiction. I think it would be one of the hardest things to give up. I'm glad I never started. I get my love of the outdoors from my Dad. He hunted, fished, hiked, we went camping all the time...now he is 75 and lives in a condo and doesn't get out as much. I'm hoping when we get moved to our 'farm' he'll spend a lot of time on our land.

You write beautifully. So did your Dad.

Cindy Bee

Rural Rambler said...

Great pic to share Kritter Keeper. The post is very sweet. Where would we be without our memories? And for those of us that love picture taking, we are so blessed to have our pictures. And our blogs Kritter Keeper, journals with pictures that we can glance at any old time we need a smile!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

what a sweet post!

Rochester Trail Riders said...

Cute blog, glad I found you. Love for you to share your farm tails with us every Tuesday on our Trail Tails Link Party at http://www.RochesterTrailRiders.com

Verde Farm said...

Jill, I am just getting to read this on Tuesday morning from VA. I am tearful in my room. I can feel your pain for your dad and disdain for those cigarettes. I am so, so sorry you lost him too early and I know how much he means to you and shapes who you are. It is so hard to lose a wonderful father and my heart is hurting for you this week.
Prayers for you, Amy

Country Gal said...

Beautiful post.
I lost my dad 15 years ago he was a farmer, animal lover and loved nature, a hunter at times and fisherman but it wasnt smoking that did it alone it was what we know now as acid reflux disease that did it before it was discovered and could be controlled my medications and we new it as heart burn but yes the smoking didnt help.He died of throat cancer due to it all. They are with us all the time in many ways and memories! Have a good day !

JC said...

Nicely done. I am sorry that he is gone.

My Dad's birthway was on February 13th. He's been gone for 21 years.

(and on my blog you asked and so i will tell you. after 30 years of being together, i am leaving to be on my own. purr and fur gang is coming with me of course)

Willard said...

A wonderful post. So sorry your Dad had to leave too soon.

I see the watch crows almost every day, and the turkeys are now coming quite often. Like yours, they were gone for most of the autumn and early winter, but the food source they evidently found elsewhere must be gone and I am now seeing them three or more days each week. This morning three were feeding in front of my observation post when suddenly they began cackling and flew away and a golden eagle landed in a nearby tree. No chance to get a photo, as he immediately took off again. I don't know for sure, but I suspect it would have attacked one of the turkeys had they not flew away.

Dog Trot Farm said...

What a lovely post and tribute to your dear father. There is a special bond that fathers and their daughter's share and your's comes shining through. Sending blessings from snowy Maine, Julie.

Vicki said...

Oh.....I love this post. My dad smoked for years also and has been gone now for 4 years. I love your postive outlook and stating that you find something good on that day. Thank God for memories....Thank You for stopping by and visiting...I love your blog!

Rising Rainbow said...

What a nice tribute to your father. It's clear you loved him and wonderful he shared so much with you.

I lost my father when I was just twelve. I still remember that day like it happened yesterday and it was a very long time ago. I think I remember the day more clearly than my father but then my father did not share himself with me as yours did with you.

Theanne and Baron said...

Thank you for sharing this great post...love of nature came from my Mom's side and my Dad. He loved living in the country, loved the seasons, the wildlife, having a cow and chickens and cats and bees and a garden. He taught me so much and like you and your Dad, I miss him mightily, he's been gone since 1992.
Love your Dad's writing and yours...thank you so much for following my blog!

Theanne and Baron said...

Thank you for sharing this great post...love of nature came from my Mom's side and my Dad. He loved living in the country, loved the seasons, the wildlife, having a cow and chickens and cats and bees and a garden. He taught me so much and like you and your Dad, I miss him mightily, he's been gone since 1992.
Love your Dad's writing and yours...thank you so much for following my blog!

Theanne and Baron said...

BTW my Mom's granddad was from Vermont...came down to Virginia after the Civil War and bought up around a 1000 acres of land.

acorn hollow said...

Smoking is such a heart break for the smoker and the family.
Blessings to you.
cathy

Rose H (UK) said...

What a wonderful tribute. Your Dad is with you every day, and you view your world as he would have done. You both have the gift of writing so beautifuly. I know your pain as I lost my Dad too - he and I were very close and he showed me such a lot.
Hugs
Rose H

flowerweaver said...

A beautiful post. Today I photographed the old pioneer cemetery by our farm for Sunday Stills. I buried my mother 34 years ago on this day. I was just a child, and cigarettes took her life too. The hawk is a beautiful sign, and I liked your Dad's story!

Jan's Place USA and Mt Forest Pictures said...

I love this post, and know that I would of surely liked your father. I am glad he had the same heart for nature and the outdoors that you received from him.

Hugs, and thanks for being my blogger friend!