Cows and crows are great judges of genius; you can take my word for it. I have sat under trees scribbling my nonsense, and in the middle of open fields attempting to place in paint the indescribable beauties of nature. Ever alert, the eyes of cows and/or crows have often sat in judgement.


We all have a sense of personality; a lingering feeling about a person, though not specific. Often you remember that they were either good or bad, but can’t remember why. What sensory perception triggers memory? Is it sound, sight, smell, or perhaps the waft of a soft afternoon breeze. The afternoon breeze puts me comfortingly back into the bed of a much loved aunt while taking an after-lunch nap together. Do the cows and crows depend upon the same sense of perception?

crows 2

When entering my garden while Henry and his pals are testing out the birdbath, do they know my face? In walking past the open field, when several cows look up in unison from their eternal munching, is it the sound of my boots on the gravel, or the motion of my passing that attracts them? I find it endlessly fascinating to believe these creatures of Nature recognize and accept me for what I am, as I accept and appreciate their attention.


I often wonder if the thin veil between the animal world and us will ever be shorn. Meanwhile, we anthropomorphize our relationships with these amazing creatures, which pleases us no end.

Jan horse 3

Who can explain the thrill of discovery we feel when a small yellow horse in a corral containing several others, looks up at the sound of his name being called?

“My Beau” original watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

The thing about moments–once they are gone, they’re gone forever.


crows 2

A barking dog can get your attention whether you are in the middle of a good movie or merely trying to fix a recurring computer problem. When they are in the house trying to get some action out of you, you do tend to get a bit churlish. Charlies’s frantic yelping interspersed with an occasional snarl got us on our feet yesterday, to find him under a hallway skylight window looking first up and then back at us with a “what’s the matter with you idiots?” look on his canine face.

There on top of the roof skylight lay a dark figure. prone and silent. I made out the shape of a beak on the left side of the silhouette, which told us a probable sad story of a loss of life.
Dr. Advice climbed up onto the roof to check it out the next morning only to come down empty handed. And yet the dark shadow remained.

Two days ago we had watched dozens of crows in the three large redwood trees flying crazily from tree to tree and back again. They are strange and mysterious birds anyway, so their behavior did nothing more than amuse us.


My over active imagination visualized the funereal celebration the crowd of crows may have been having before they collected their lost brother from the top of our roof to transport him,…. where? Of course, it spoiled my own plans for a burial ceremony. With no body, how could there be a funeral?

Some of you may remember Henry, the sometime bane of Charlie’s and my life. Henry of the burnished black feathers and loud raucous voice who found great joy in aggravating our household by dive bombing the dog and then giving the rest of us the razzberry when we protested. He periodically washes his food in our birdbath making it inhospitable to all the other birds, and sometimes leaves trinkets he has stolen in the bottom of the bath water. But we had not seen nor heard of Henry for a few weeks, and though he had not been on our MIA list, I couldn’t help thinking of him when the rooftop shadow appeared.

Since the top of the skylight was empty, it left only one answer—-the indeterminate darkness must be inside the double layer of the skylight. The intrepid Doctor A. climbed the beanstalk to the base of the skylight, loosed a few screws and plop fell a large piece of paint off the side wall.

No Henry, no funeral, and now to repair the damage.