The fog hung heavy on my drive to work this morning. It hugged the rolling hills, pooled in the valleys, and drifted in sinuous shapes across the landscape, striating the scene. Everything had a misty, hazy, otherworldly quality. I drove carefully, enjoying the moody morning and the changing views.
After arriving at school, I entered the building and dove straight into work. Perhaps half an hour later, I was racing down the hallway, beelining to the copier, my head swirling with plans, fledgling ideas, and questions, when I chanced to glance out a nearby window. Something caught my eye and I stopped to look. The mist persisted and there in the school garden several skeletal sun flowers hung their seed-laden heads. Atop them rested half a dozen ebony crows. Together, they formed a silhouette against the hazy woods in the background. Eerie. Beautiful. I watched, enthralled, as the mist swirled and the crows silently feasted, setting the heavy sunflowers swaying.
After a bit, I retraced my steps back to my classroom and grabbed my camera, wanting to capture this amazing scene. Exiting the school by the far doors, I slowly crept around the side of the building. I turned my camera on far before reaching my target, not wanting the noise to spook the birds. I knew my success was unlikely as crows are canny birds, but I was hoping my zoom lens would allow me to photograph them from an unthreatening distance. As I neared, I realized I’d planned my approach poorly. Instead of the haze and tree backdrop I had been admiring, the school would be in the background from my vantage. Undeterred, I continued on my way, stepping quietly on the moist grass. Closer. Closer. I held my camera poised in hand and carefully, slowly moved toward the garden. I finally rounded the corner, camera held high, and immediately the crows erupted from the garden leaving sunflower heads bobbing and swaying. Their heavy wings and raucous calls beat the air. I managed to catch one in a quick, blurry, unsatisfying shot.
As I turned to walk back to the doorway, the crows lit high in a nearby tree, cawing belligerently at me, clearly disgruntled at my rude intrusion. They rose and settled in the tree, noisy black shadows. I knew by the time I had settled back into my work, they would return to the feast, yet I did feel slightly ashamed for disrupting their beautiful morning breakfast. In the meantime, even without a photograph, the interaction had brightened my morning, reminding me, once again, to look out a window once in a while and take in the scene.