If the city folk had been more observant, they might have noticed it. But they couldn’t read the messages in the murmuration patterns of the starlings. They couldn’t hear the gossip of the sparrows who chattered about the sparks that moved through even the tiniest branches of the trees. And their hearts were not tuned in to the melodies of the songbirds who sang whole movements about each swirling eddy in the shifting energy flow that was all around them.
Yes, the birds could feel it and they echoed it in their songs and in their actions. But they chose not to question it because it didn’t seem to threaten their own sweet world of wind and trees and air and skies.
It simply was. A steady, innocuous, unobservable hummmm that flowed through the ground and up into the trees and along the streams and rivers and into the back of the peoples’ brains. It was like sound of a dryer running in the basement, or a fan in another room that goes unobserved until the very moment it stops.
Only the cleverest birds of all, the beautiful jet black crows and midnight blue ravens, wondered about it. They had heard it from the very beginning. They would cock their small dark heads to the side and try to understand it. Their shiny black bead eyes would stare into the distance as they listened intently. They wondered about what it might mean.
During the day, the crows and ravens flew around the city, tending to their work; finding food and gathering precious trinkets: buttons and shells; bits and clips and little bells; rusted gears and green glass jewels; bone fragments, lost earrings, metal hearts; zipper pulls and other tiny pieces of art. They kept busy—as they always did—but they knew that whatever had begun to flow through their bodies and into their hearts was something important.
At first they didn’t talk about it much, but eventually it began to come up as a subject of conversation at their meetings.
Every day, about an hour before dusk they would gather together in the largest most majestic trees of the city. They would chatter and gossip and caw and titter about what they had seen during the day; bragging about their treasures; sometimes sharing where the freshest food could be found (and sometimes keeping that knowledge to themselves).
But once they began to speak about the hummmm, they could converse about nothing else. They talked about how they could feel it in the deepest depths of their hearts, how they could sense its vibration at the tips of their wings when they stretched them open and flew across the sky and how it buzzed in their claws after they swooped down and perched on the wires that were strung across the city.
They spoke about how the hummmm was all-pervading; and they argued about its colour. Some felt it as a deep shade of ultraviolet and to others it seemed like the whitest glow of a moonflower in full bloom. But one thing they agreed upon was that the hummm had begun to change. It was becoming more intense, more frenetic, it was higher pitched and growing stronger every day . . .
Listen to this song by Jo Mango about how birds speak to each other: https://jomango.bandcamp.com/track/send-in-the-crows
Image source: Kaelycea at Deviant Art: http://kaelycea.deviantart.com/art/The-Key-142161999
So, the crow. A bird considered sacred to Apollo, who turned the bird black (which was previously white) for bringing him the bad news that his lover Coronis was having an affair with Ischys.