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       My Name Is, p.1

           Peter Westaway
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My Name Is

  My Name Is

  copyright 2014 Peter Westaway

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  My Name Is

  Hello, my name is Brian Seymour, and if you are reading this, and you apparently are, I am hopefully already dead. This is neither a suicide note, nor a deathbed confession. It is simply a story that I feel that should be told, but not heard, while I am still alive. While I am currently writing this I am thankfully blessed with excellent health, and I fully intend to live for several more decades. Therefore I am greatly hoping that you are reading this many years after I am putting these few prophetic words down. I will fully explain the reasoning behind this later. I do feel though, that I should start at the beginning.

  I first noticed the crows three winters ago. That winter the crows from all over my hometown of Ottawa would gather every evening, and spend the night together in the trees in a park near my residence. Every evening after work I could see their shadows quietly lining every branch of every tree. There were thousands of them. They apparently spread out in the morning over the whole city. I assumed that this was so that they can each find enough food to scavenge to fill their little stomachs. But every night they once again convened in the very same trees in one very large group. When they fly all together they fill the sky, and take at least twenty minutes just to pass by overhead. These black flying creatures are of a quite substantial size on their own. They are not tiny like sparrows, yet they aren’t quite large like a hawk or eagle. Yet as a group together, I figure they are potentially quite a potent army. In fact, in my opinion they are the single largest natural physical force in the whole city. If they chose, they could easily kill several grown men in an instant. Thankfully they seem oblivious to this power that they could wield.

  I didn’t think much more about this potential phenomenon, but a couple of times a week I would happen to notice them gathered, seeming to me, to be silently waiting for the signal to attack. They eventually must have found a different night time gathering place, since they were no longer hanging out in my neighbourhood.

  Then about one year ago the crows caught my attention once again. There was a small flock of about one hundred of them always in the very same spot. I rode my bicycle five days a week to my job as a delivery truck driver. At five A.M., when I was almost at my destination, there was always that same small flock waiting. They would announce my passing with a few caw caws to each other. I started to greet them with my own caw cawing. They seemed to be interested in my attempts at communication. They would get excited amongst themselves, flying around and cawing to each other.

  I was intrigued by the antics of these crows, so I finally did a little research on the internet about them. I was amazed to learn that these birds are considered quite special by many scientists. They are now thought of as one of the very smartest creatures on earth. They can solve problems better than chimpanzees, and their caw cawing is much more intricate than it seems. I started to pay much more attention to them, and would caw to them every chance I got. My research also told me that they were excellent at recognizing people in a crowd. So I was much more conscious that they just may actually remember me.

  I had to ride ten kilometers on my bicycle to get to work. I looked forward to coming over that last hill, about a half kilometer to my destination, as that is where my own little flock of crows was always waiting. I would stop and say hi to them and say, “caw caw caw!” I could tell that it was the young crows that got excited and would fly about. A couple of dozen older crows would stay in their trees at their lookout posts, and just quietly stare at me.

  When I first started listening to them talk amongst themselves, I would simply count the number of caws. Anywhere from one caw, to a series of eight, never more, but usually it was three, four or five caws. After I had heard that there are more than two hundred and fifty distinct calls according to the scientists, I realized they are often saying caw c-caw. It must be some kind of Morse code.

  When I am saying hi to them I would only be thinking to myself, “caw caw,” or thinking, “hi crows,” while I am caw cawing. But then one very memorable, very cold, January morning on my bicycle, something truly remarkable happened. I stopped as usual to greet my personal flock, but this time I said to myself, “come here,” while I was saying out loud, “caw caw caw.”

  The crows immediately, without a single caw of their own, came to me. I mean the whole flock, young and old, all flew to me where I was standing. I was obviously completely dumbfounded at the sight of all these crows circling ten feet above my head. They then all landed around me, covering the sidewalk I was on, and the snow bank beside me, in a tight circle, like a black churning blanket.

  Of course, after recovering from the initial intense shock, I was in a total state of confused panic. I could only think of one thing to do. I yelled, “caw caw!” while thinking simply, “go away!” Without uttering a single caw themselves, they immediately all took off and flew away. They stayed together and flew to the east, and kept going until I lost sight of them in the distance.

  I could only stand there, with my bike between my legs, and watch them leave. What just happened? How was that possible? My heart was pounding. I was suddenly sweating despite the frigid temperature. I kept watching in the distance to where I last saw them, wondering what will happen next. But when they didn’t come back I realized I was now a little late for work. I showed up at work and said nothing to anyone except the usual good mornings. I dared not say a word about the incredible spectacle that I had just witnessed. Who would have believed me?

  I didn’t encounter anymore crows that day until I arrived home late in the afternoon. I was living in a rented room in a house in the suburbs of Ottawa. There is a very small flock of crows that hang around there during the day. You will notice that I refer to them as in a flock. A flock of crows is often referred to as a “murder” in literature, but the scientific term is simply flock, and I don’t consider this to be literature as it is very much a factual story. Also the term murder is a very negative title for my newfound friends. I pulled into my driveway on my bike and stopped and saw a few crows high up in the trees across the street. I yelled, “caw caw!” while once again thinking, “come here.” Sure enough ten crows immediately and silently flew to me, and landed on the driveway three feet in front of me. They all just stood there quietly looking at me with their little black bead eyes, waiting for my next command. I quickly looked around to see if anyone else had noticed, but I could only see one person down the street walking his dog, and he walked away not paying me and my little winged troop any attention.

  I said, quieter this time, “caw caw caw” while thinking, “fly to the top of that building” and pointed to the twelve story apartment building directly across the street. They obediently flew up to the roof, and there stood in an even row all looking back down at me. This once again all happened without a single sound, but a light fluttering of their wings. I could only stand there and look back at them utterly astounded.

  I continued to just stare at them, still trying to comprehend it all. They just stayed there without moving. I went in the house to jump in a hot shower. After I felt refreshed, I looked through my living room window and saw my little troop still up there waiting patiently. I was ravenous so started to cook myself some dinner. While my steak and mushrooms were frying in a pan I went out to look at them once more. The
y were gone this time. As it was starting to get dark out, I figured they had left to join their large flock wherever they were spending the nights now.

  I stayed up all night trying to digest this incredible phenomenon that I was now apparently a part of. I had sure never heard of anything like this happening before. Why me? And why now? I don’t consider myself special in any way. I know I am fairly intelligent but I never went to university. I had no desire to earn a paycheck in a conventional career. I started driving a taxi in my early twenties. The lifestyle suited me perfectly. I had no boss and could work as much or as little as I chose. I worked only nights and considered every fare a potential new adventure. I had plenty of time to read a great many books while I was waiting to embark on my next little adventure.

  I finally stopped driving cab after twenty years when the city made it less profitable by making us all have much newer cars, while allowing more competition. I have no close friends; my parents
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