Yesterday I spent the whole day in the house. It started out as a gray day. By 1pm there were little snow flakes flitting down to the ground. When I tried looking out the kitchen skylight I couldn’t because there was a dusting of snow covering it. And it kept snowing on and off for the rest of the evening. In the end, there wasn’t a lot on the ground—maybe one inch—but enough that the city got that glow that it gets on snowing evenings. The light becomes a pervasive orange and everything is a little bit brighter and illuminated because of the reflected light. When I took Metro outside before finally leaving the house, the backyard was bathed in this light. The neighbors’ backyards, which are usually murky places on the other side of the fence, were easy to see. Everything would have been completely silent if it hadn’t been for the crows.

The crows aren’t there all of the time; in fact, they are very seldom there. And I have never been very good at paying attention to what the conditions are when they show up. Are they there because of the snow? I have no idea. But there were hundreds in different tree tops all around the house. I love flocks of birds, especially the crows. Crows aren’t pretty and have a reputation for being cruel and their call isn’t considered to be the finest. But when they are around, perched in the tree tops, flying from one branch to another, calling to each other, I get the biggest thrill. There is really something about their call that I find comforting. I went back inside and opened the skylight in the living room. There were about 20 in a tree top just on the other side of the dormer roof, taking turns flapping their wings, getting situated and occasionally launching off into the fuzzy winter city sky.

Inside, even with the window closed, their caws were easily heard. Especially when they called as a group, it was surprisingly clear and easy to hear. It made me aware of how truly surrounded the house was by these massive birds.

Before leaving I was sitting on the sofa by the fireplace. This has been my spot all winter. Metro was sleeping on his blanket next to me. The crows were outside, making their ridiculously comforting racket and somewhere, in the distance, a train horn sounded. I was at home.