Albo P Fossa—July 19, 2020
The Mad Hatter asked Alice, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”
Many have made answers. Lewis Carroll didn’t intend one. The Hatter admitted, “I haven’t the slightest idea!”
31 years later, Carroll wrote, “Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!” (1928, Aldous Huxley: “Because there is a B in both and an N in neither.”)
Ravens have always been nearby. These wiseacres hang out in gangs. A group waits in a hamburger joint’s parking lot for handouts—with cheese and fries. When a falcon fetches a land critter, a few ravens chase it to claim the falcon’s booty. A raven lands atop our tall backyard cottonwood and repeats its five caws. The higher the fewer.
For a while, a raven came daily to the smaller of our two bird baths. (We came to call the bird “Ra”.) Ra drank, bathed, and sometimes brought food shards to soak—like lizard or hamburger bun parts. Ra would also strut in the back yard. Atop the back wall, Ra would eat and sometimes lift a bill against a black quill.
Ra was a pest for wrens, robins, finches and doves. While Ra came, others shied away. Mass has right of way. Then Ra dropped the habit. Now the others are back, along with wasps. (Lizards zip around more often too.) Caws and shadows still tour the neighborhood.
Why Ra hung out here for just a while is a riddle.
How long is a raven’s life in dog years?