Omen

There are Mondays, and Mondays. The start of every work week is a challenge, and in my case, the start of a Board week (a week in which the University’s Board of Regents is meeting) is especially heavy, because it promises to be a stressful, busy, and tied-and-jacketed week.

But this Monday morning seemed particularly ominous, even for a Board week.

I drove in early to get a jump on the week’s work. I arrived on campus between 6:30 and 7 a.m. and found myself alone on the sidewalk from the parking ramp to my office save one other person, an older women with a long black coat and black knit cap, hunched against the cold. I shivered a bit myself; it hadn’t seemed so chilly when I left home, but on campus there was a dampness in the air that was hard to shrug off.

Ahead, three dark shapes flapped across the street, from one tree to the next, too quickly to identify. I exhaled a soft sigh, and watched the grey vapor float up, up in the light of the street lamp overhead. As I raised my eyes, I noticed the moon, waning yellow in the dark blue predawn haze. Suddenly a caw, and a another black shaped flapped quickly past, momentarily eclipsing the moon.

The crow had startled me, and as I reached the intersection with the silent women, we stopped and stared as from the countless campus trees ahead, scores of black crows rose in unison and passed overhead, cawing accusations and jeers. The two of us watched them pass over us, dumbstruck, and the cold settled deeper still into our shoulders. When the light changed, we hurried to our offices.

Blogger’s Note: For past posts on crows, go here. I seem to have a “thing” for them.

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