Monday, January 13, 2020

Crow on Red

Crow on Red / Oil on black canvas, 5x7 unframed/ $68


WHEN PETER WAS A BOY, his father brought home all sorts of animals. Most were babies, many were wounded. Some, Peter thought, had fallen out of their nests, or been pushed out, as they were often not quite right. But Peter always thought his dad was not quite right, and Peter sometimes wondered whether the elder Jacobson had stalked the nests and dens and burrows and stolen the babies. There was not much love lost in that relationship.

All that being said, when Peter was 15 or so, his father brought home a crow. Sam was smart, in the way of crows. He learned that the neighbor lady was afraid of dogs, and Sam learned to bark and would bark at her whenever she came out to hang the laundry.

And Sam collected things, bright things - wooden clothespins with the clamping mechanism still shiny, coins, bits of tinfoil, pieces of costume jewelry. After Sam left, Peter looked inside a tire in the garage and found where Sam had stashed his shiny treasures.

The other day, I found myself across the highway from a Cabela's store, and I started weeping. Long ago, before Cabela's had stores everywhere, I drove to Wisdom, Montana, on my first painting trip. In Nebraska, Chappell, to be exact, I saw the original Cabela's and I got off the highway to visit.

I went around the town and the store, talked to people, took photos, bought stuff, and then called Peter to tell him about my adventure.

I didn't stop because I was personally interested in Cabela's. I really didn't care. But the catalog had come to our home as long as we had been together, and Peter had always received it with excitement. I knew this stop would make him happy. And that made me happy, making him happy.

And so, I sat in the parking lot across the road from the Cabela's and I understood for a moment who I was and who I am, and what I've lost, and I wept.

Then I dried my eyes and I set off, on my way, watching the landscape unfold. I am a seeker, an adventurer, a gatherer of bright and shiny things - paintings, experiences, a bit of jewelry, a shiny sun-filled dawn, a sparkly promise of new horizons.

For Today

The crows in your neighborhood know your block better than you do. They know the garbage truck routes. They know which kids drop animal crackers and which ones throw rocks. They know the pet dogs, and they might even play with the friendly ones. If you feed them, they probably not only recognize you but your car as well, and they might just leave you trinkets in return. These birds live their lives intertwined with ours, carefully observing us even as most of us barely take note of them. That’s how they survive, and they’re good at it: In recent decades the American Crow has taken over our suburbs, and even moved into the hearts of our big cities. As we’ve reshaped the landscape, we’ve created an ideal environment for an animal that is canny and perceptive enough to exploit our riches.
If you have time to read the entire article, please do. It's fascinating! 

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