Once upon a time there were two crows, they had fun pecking at the earth, foraging for food and performing their tricks for the tourists. They lived on an island – but this was no desert island, they shared their paradise with cats and dogs, rats and pigeons, there were also estate agents, solicitors, retired bank mangers, parking wardens and aged sea captains.
Crows are pretty ambivalent, they don’t waste their time worrying about the future, whether there will be enough oil to fry fish and chips, who will win the next Olympic medal for curling or how many points the Nasdaq climbed in the last twenty four hours. They don’t seem to mind how many people they share their tiny island with or how those people earn their keep. The crows coexist with the humans and have done for thousands of years.
A crows first priority is food : the more people there are the more surplus food there is for the crows. Crows don’t need a four storey apartment with an en suite bathroom overlooking the sea. All a crow needs is a scrap of grass to jump about on during the day and a tree to roost in at night.
What sort of tree is of little consequence to George and Mabel – yes they have names ! On some islands there’s very little choice in the type of tree but here there are several different trees. There used to be thousands of trees but most were cut down and made into boats. Of the remaining trees the one preferred by George and Mabel is in danger of becoming firewood. Humans don’t value trees like our feathered friends and trees are disappearing everywhere. They are making way for new houses, schools, supermarkets, motorways and railway tracks. Perhaps if the humans roosted in trees they wouldn’t need so many supermarkets and hotels. George and Mabel’s tree grows very quickly and has reached an enormous height. It sways in the wind and there’s a lot of that on the island. It has long thin blue green leaves that rustle in the wind and one of its best features is the multi-coloured bark. The tree is not only the evening residence of the crow family but home to two families of Starlings, a blue tit and a collared dove which keeps them awake at night with its “cooing”. In addition, the tree is the home of thousands of little bugs, beetles and spiders ! The tree has rough bark and as the tree gets bigger the bark parts company with the trunk and it drops off – but before falling to the ground the bark is an insect snack bar where the crows feed when they wake up from their slumbers and where a midnight feast is always on the menu! Because there are lots of people with lots of cars on the island the atmosphere gets very polluted and it gets worse in the summer months. The trees not only provide a home for our comedy duo but the trees also make oxygen by turning sunlight into chemicals that counteract he effect of all the exhaust fumes from the cars and lorries.
George and Mabel once went on a ride in a lorry but that’s another story. Today they are facing eviction which means their house is going to be cut down because it’s too big for its tiny garden. All the gardens on the island are tiny because it’s a tiny island. The tree is a eucalyptus tree which the owner planted about thirty years ago but the silly man didn’t read the label from the tree shop that said annual growth 8-12 feet per year ! Very soon the tree towered above the Victorian terraced house and blocked the light from all the neighbours houses so that in the mid afternoon it was as dark as early evening. Several people complained to the council who said the tree had to be chopped down but that was only the beginning of our tale.
drop by again soon for the next chapter !
all images and text © http://www.chriswoodartist.com all rights reserved Chris N Wood 22.11.13