Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Ecstasy of Crows

Last year when we first moved to Norway, we witnessed many superb sunrises: pinky orange bruises that formed on the horizon above the distant grey mountains, often suffused through wispy, blow-away clouds.

This year, there have been many less of such sunrises - so, clearly the atmospheric chemistry has not been quite right. But this morning there was a nice one that beamed in through the kitchen window around 7.45 just as I was lifting the last spoonful of Fitness and Fruits to my mouth.

And it just got better and better. By the time I was on my way to work at 8.15, the display was at its zenith, or climax or whatever the best moment of a sunrise should be called. Crescendo maybe?

As I drove along the road which circuits the large lake called Mosvatnet, just outside Stavanger, crows were taking off from the trees around the lake like bunches of black confetti hurled by cheerful mourners. They swirled over the road in the way that leaves swirl in the wind, dipping down and then rising up in a chaotic yet vaguely coordinated dance.

Starlings are famous for the way they are able to create great undulating Mobius rings when they flock together en masse. Crows are less sublime, but their dawn riots, ragged and freeform, have their own poetry, more atuned to the wind that has flung them free of their perches and inspired directly by that blistering sky.

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