A Fear Brought Into Perspective
by Nicole E. Hirschi
My grandfather told me about the birds who feast on the dead. His fear of crows seemed at most times, extreme. “Don’t look at them, Shalynn, they bring bad luck,” or “Cover your ears otherwise their hideous cries will steal your soul.” Sometimes, he seemed borderline crazy the way he would do anything to avoid where they were. Attending my grandfather’s funeral, we all laughed at his superstition of the black carrion birds mentioned in the eulogy that was given. Helping clean out his house, I came across some old journals and newspaper clippings in a box under his bed. I took the box outside and sat under the large maple tree in the back yard. Opening a leather journal, I noticed the dates ranging back to late August of 1945 where my grandfather had been a journalist covering events during World War II.
“…today was one of the most horrific I’ve ever seen. I arrived here in Hiroshima last night and didn’t realize how much of a living nightmare it had become. Screams of the unknown filled my ears last night. Today, I arrived where the most destruction had occurred. I was horrified to find that the screams heard last night belong to the thousands of crows feasting on what’s left of the inhabitants…”
I continued to read a few more entries and after finishing the last, in thought, I looked up at the branches and noticed a large crow flying overhead. His fear no longer seemed irrational.