Dec 3, 2002

Ever notice crows? The ones where I live are black and gray: Black heads and beaks, gray shoulders and belly, and black wingtips, tail and feet. I just noticed that their beaks are so smooth they reflect the light. A couple of crows are wandering around on the terraced roof of my office building. For a moment I thought they had white beaks, until I realized it was the sun reflecting off them. The same light makes their black heads look very black and glossy.

Crows are not as pretty-looking as magpies, but they seem more magical. There is the "kråketing", as the Norwegians say, the crow's congress. The crows gather by the dozens in one tree and seem to hold a meeting. Their close relative, the raven, is featured in many mythologies, including the Norse. The god Odin knew what was happening because of his two ravens, Hugin and Munin (pronounced Hewgin and Mewnin).

It was actually relaxing to just stop for a moment and watch the crows wander lazily on the gravelled roof, taking a closer look (peck) at what may be interesting, in the soft, golden light of the low winter sun.