The Real Sanitation Engineers

All right…they’re not the most attractive of fowl. Edgar Allan Poe immortalized one in his poem, “The Raven,” when that bird kept croaking at the door (**Note–he didn’t “sing.”) They’re particularly big at Halloween and can be found on any decor signaling that motif. They’re sidekicks to witches, for God’s sake. They’re black, ominous, and “able to carry off unattended infants,” as some believe, so throughout history, they’ve been the subject of evil curiosity.

I personally never much liked them…all that cawing and nasty noise. Then, too, there’s that damnable scene of carnage in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds” when they attack the schoolchildren, after gathering on the jungle gym.

I remember “Steel Magnolias,” too, when someone in the movie (the bride’s father?) unloaded buckshot into a whole community of them that had taken up residence in his trees. I have to say: I perfectly understand his motivation. When windows are open in the summer, the crow brigade starts up early and it goes on for hours.

But, recently, I went to an Indigenous Peoples’ Fair in Little Compton, Rhode Island, and heard a native American story-teller say: “Crows keep the world beautiful because they take away our trash…everything we don’t want.” As such, they remove our garbage, dead animal carcases… all the “stuff” we don’t want to handle. In this way, they keep the world beautiful.

I thought about that concept more and determined these native American Indians are right. I should have known: They value the creatures of the earth as each having its own intrinsic value.

Now, if I just didn’t have to see them eating all that “stuff.”

In the respect mode, here are two artists whose work on the theme of crows is pretty remarkable. The first is from Marion Rose Fine Art, called “Gossip Column” (and boy, crows do get the word out and communicate like no one else); the larger is a whimsical piece where the artist uses humor, giving the worm (in the crow’s beak) sardonic wit as he faces down his aggressor, the crow. The tag line is: “You’re Upsetting the Mrs.,” by Steve Goad of in touch with these artists if you like what you see.

Just something to chew on………….

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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