Friday, September 27, 2013


Meet The Boys: Bach, Beethoven & Brahms; they patrol the Pine Grove Cemetery in Brunswick, Maine, where I take my afternoon walk. I’m not at all sure if they’re boys (who’s to know? And, more importantly, how do you tell?), but they’ve been hanging out together all summer.
          They know me now, and we’re friends.

I owe that friendship to my maternal grandmother, who loved crows and taught me to love them as well.
It took some time, believe me.

When I first started walking in the cemetery, there was quite a ruckus – great flappings and cawings; they flew from tree to tree in the woods around the perimeter, yelling at me the entire time. 
But I remembered my grandmother, and so I talked back.
“Hello! Hello!” I called, ambling along the walkways, stopping to investigate interesting gravestones. “Goodness! Such a racket!”
They hollered back, a constant harassment; I was an interloper, an intruder.
And so it went for a week or more.

I went to our local farm and feed store and bought a bag of sunflower seeds. That same afternoon, I put a couple of handfuls into a baggie, then headed out for my walk.

And this time, I took the lead.
“Hey!” I shouted, when I got out of the car. “I’ve got something for you!” I shook the seeds in the bag, held it up.
There was silence for just a moment, but then they cawed back.
“And if you keep your eyes on me, you’ll see what it is!”
I walked along, sprinkling seeds every now and then, talking the entire time; I talked about the weather, how my writing was going, how good these sunflower seeds taste...on and on.
They quieted down a little. They perched up in the trees, but they never took their eyes off me; their vocalizations shifted a bit, became calmer.
When I was a safe distance down the path, they flew down from the trees, down into the grass to find the seeds.

They recognize my car now; they’re often waiting for me. There are a few loud cawings when I first arrive – she’s here, she’s here! – and then softer calls. I talk, they talk back; I walk up and down those lovely rows and they walk with me – Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.

The Masters.


  1. I can magine strolling through and hearing sweet music, and keep watch for dancing spirits of yesterday.... a most peaceful and relaxing visit!

    1. I've always loved walking in cemeteries, Karen...and The Boys certainly add to my enjoyment! Thanks for stopping by...

  2. Ah, you sure know how to make friends...

    1. But they're cheap dates: after all, it takes only a baggie of sunflower seed to keep those guys happy!

  3. Well of course, the crows will smile now, you bribed them with a top treat....they are a raucus group...not too many around here and so my AM walks are peaceful other than other many birds twittering.

    1. I'm not above bribery, Patricia, when the end result is as wonderful as these wiseguys are! I'm not sure what I'm going to do when it starts snowing, as they don't plow the cemetery...and I'm getting too old to vault snowbanks! Thanks for your comment and your visit. Minnesota?