a persistent daydream
I loved reading this. We did a neighborhood howl during covid. At 8pm every night people went outside and screamed. It was incredible. Once we were allowed to go out again, we stopped, but for a few months it was amazing.
Beautiful. And a bit of corvid serendipity, as I sent mine out just before reading this.
This makes me think of all the funerals I've attended that were too quiet, eerily quiet. I'd say crows have a much more appropriate response to the loss.
Beautiful. Ready to howl on cue at your direction. We did this at 8pm in Denver during covid for a period. Step outside and howl. Sometimes you could hear people howling all over town.
Well how kind of your harbinger to voice his acknowledgement outside your window near the end of your reading, Chloe ;) 🐦⬛🐦⬛🐦⬛ We had a murder which used to chase off hawks from their base in the gigantic redwoods in our yard.
Back when work meant a button-down collared shirt and tie, I lobbied to have our breast pockets officially repurposed as "screaming pockets" but after my first couple of trial runs, the idea was squashed. I agree there is a great need for some officially designated areas and/or times. 😱
You're perfecting your kinds of howl, never fear. (And, among your reasons, thank you too Chloe for roping in your discomfort with "cages" of various kinds, including the showy hypocrisy of the uk government's choreographed pots, clanging for "essential workers.")
Stunningly done, Chloe, and so familiar. How easy it is to occasionally forget yourself, how ill-fitting the clapping felt against the relentless exhaustion of keyworkers; I can't scream, but I feel the rage and join you in quiet howling 💜
Oh gosh, that final paragraph. Same 💕
This was a wonderful piece of writing. Really enjoyed it. Thank you.
I loved this so much. One of my still open tabs from the summer is "how to befriend a crow". I have long (20+ years) had a relationship with owls and hearing them or dreaming of them preempting big changes in my life but it wasn't until a few years now that I started feeling akin to crows. During early Covid shelter in place in Portland, Oregon I was out walking in a neighborhood that was new-ish to me and as I turned up a street a crow landed on a power line above me and cawed quite loudly, seemingly looking at me. I saluted him (something an Irish friend told me to do when I see a single magpie) and kept walking. A few seconds later I felt something buzz my head, which I realized was the crow! He was now sitting on a fence and cawed at me. I looked at him for a moment and kept walking, turning up a different street, walking a bit faster. A few seconds later the crow flew in front of me cawing loudly. I was a little startled and then thought "he doesn't want me to walk this way". I said aloud "Ok - I will turn around. I hear you." He followed me for a bit...hopping from power line to roof top but no more buzzing my head or loud cawing. A few minutes later he was gone. I kept walking that way. I felt that the crow was protecting me from something. He was definitely herding me. I haven't thought about this again until I read your post today. Thank you for the memory and for letting me share it here.
I really wish for a crow friend.
I'm currently in Turin, Italy and have been missing crows as they don't seem to populate my neighborhood. I'm always on the lookout.
The way you think and the way you write moves me deeply. Thank you.
As other have said, this is a wonderful post. I also love and appreciate crows. I grew up seeing them on the farm, then watch them colonise seaside towns because they could outsmart the herring gulls. And here in Tokyo, the crows are huge and very vocal. One of them likes to caw what sounds like "baka! baka!", which means "idiot, idiot!" in Japanese. And, of course, I can't avoid the thought that the crow caws for me.
A scream space, what a fantastic and primal concept. But more importantly it needs to be a collective auditory scream to be communally effective. Nature and it’s creatures have so much to teach if only we pay attention.
And David? He arrived home unscathed, I hope? Such a magical, lyrical story Chloe. Thank you.
Achingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
Dear Chloe, I’ve so enjoyed discovering your writing on Substack, and, as others here have found, there are many personal resonances with your thoughtful, beautifully wrought words, and it’s hard not to jump up and down and respond to your posts with a written cry of “yes, me too, me too!” But as a newcomer on here it seemed a bit pushy to jump in there with nothing of my own posted yet; and yet, your howling has been echoing in my head since I read it last week. Eighteen or so years ago, I wrote a short story called “Planting and the Grace of Swans” in response to my father’s death - it’s about death and birds! His death was announced to me by passing swans (yes, really!) after some near-magic negotiations, and the tale includes howling! How could I wait any longer to share a slender connection with you?! Here’s the howling excerpt that is near the end. For context the story is framed by the act of planting a wild cherry tree in his memory, with me preparing the ground on my own on a grey late autumn day in the Somerset countryside, while doing a lot of soul searching and reminiscing of our intertwined lives; I think you’ll understand! Thank you for your inspiring pieces, and apologies if all this is too long ...
“The mood of calm and contentment I’d entered through the rhythm of digging and piling of turf and earth, alongside my observations of the landscapes around me, suddenly drained away and was replaced momentarily by a soaring vertigo, a sense of deep bewilderment, and then, like a blade through my body, the anguish of loss. I was so startled by this rapid sequence of emotions that I found myself physically reeling, stumbling with dizziness until I sat down heavily on the grass at the edge of my small crater and, from somewhere deep inside a howl escaped. I howled not in the way a child howls, but like an animal, a dog, or even a wolf; the sound must have carried a long way in that still November air.”