Last Fall on the Blacktop
The audience for these shenanigans is made up of serious looking, black suited, pointy faced corvids. Perched on low-hanging power wires, they look like bobber weights deepening the scallop between worn T-poles. But they are observant and focused in their beady-eyed attention, watching my progress carefully. Which nuts my tires smash is a matter of significance to this crowd, for they have placed them with forethought.
It only took a few passes for me to understand the routine and that the birds were hardly interested in what I understood. They could and would use me and my vehicle whether or not I was a willing participant. Because I wasn’t always thinking about crows when I left work, I regularly was caught unawares as I turned the corner: “oh yeah, the crows." By then the first hundred meters were gone and I was on them, taking care in how I drove. But now I slowed considerably and noticed the filberts. I laughed. I laughed out loud and louder, then chuckled, shook my head and muttered “clever rascals."
It all came together as I realized Sheriff Hawley’s filbert grove was behind the fence on the south side of the road. His failed walnut grove (only three trees remained) grew just east of the filberts. All four strands of barbed wire fencing meant to keep out deer were perfect bleachers for crows in cheap seats. Overhead wires were for swoopers and serious nutters kept to the grassy shoulders. Hunched schemers placed their nuts carefully as casino bettors and watched for cars to smash them. They left their booty unguarded as little time as possible so as to give swoopers and poachers no quarter. In this game, timing is everything, including your life. And it gives new meaning to “keep a sharp eye out."