Razor was a hand-reared pied crow with a mafia stare and an unnerving excess of what one could mistakenly interpret as entitlement.
He was not concerned with what would become of him if we didn’t put him safely to bed at night, or if we forgot to thoughtfully freeze cubes of minced meat in the ice cube tray (defrosted when required for his predatory beak and raw, bloody foods preference).
We got no ingratiating gratitude or accolades for protecting him, feeding him. He didn’t think we were doing him a favor. He was thinking: I’m here. Feed me, Human.
When I offered him watermelon and he enjoyed it immensely – probably because its watery crispness quenched his thirst and the pinkness resembled the uncooked flesh he favored – I went out of my way to indulge his taste for it. Not because he looked at me with adoring expectation, or honored me with a feather dance (undignified and uncool for a bird of his stature). Simply as his due.
Razor had that effect on us.
I’ve got a video clip of him perched on my eldest son’s forearm, claws and talons gripping, cawing importantly in my boy’s face and nibbling the blond hairs on his arm. My son narrates like a David Attenborough understudy and at one point says ‘I think he’s proven to be quite one of the family’. Humph. Razor behaved like the rightful heir to the family fortune (if we’d had such).
Cold? Heartless? No. More like anointed with supreme confidence and streetwise savvy from the moment he hatched (I’m surmising – he was an abandoned chick when my son brought him home).
Intelligent? Absolutely. Razor-sharp intellect and astuteness, I reckon.
Razor didn’t beg for affection or attention. He got it, just received it, despite the gangster gaze and chilly, nonchalant disposition.
He didn’t stick to the shadows, slinking around like he was an inconvenience, apologizing for being here and ashamed of his needs and imperfections (that voice!)
He got respect and, when he was good and ready, his freedom (he flew away without a backward glance). We fancied he flew over the back garden a few times for a couple of weeks, cawing a greeting in that grating crow voice.
Razor understood how reciprocity works. He gave us joy, excitement and a unique experience. We gave him food, safety and the only fresh watermelon he would ever have in his life, I’m sure. There was a relaxed, understated love exchange.
Yes, I claim that scavenger bird loved us; and he loved us as I wish we could love one another – without the need to claim, change, control or chain. There was no attachment or neediness. No dramatic You complete me, I’ll die without you.
He expected no less from us.
We had no claim on him, no impact on his self-esteem (he was as confident and unchangeable as the sun) and we certainly had no wish to tame or chain his self-contained, untethered, free spirit.
There’s a lesson in Razor’s outlook – a lesson I’ve only just assimilated.
I know I’ve begun to think about what animals teach me. They have qualities and characteristics that present opportunities for us to learn – about ourselves, about how we function in this world, about the restrictions and demands we sink into so quickly. Do you agree?
More than eight years have passed since Razor took his glossy black feathers and white muscle vest up to the Italy in the Sky; he is undoubtedly a Big Bad Boss in organized crime by now. Smuggling star dust and selling frosty charisma on the black market.
I wouldn’t call what he was a pet. He was a feathered guru (with sinister, stridently exacting undertones).
I haven’t got any pets right now.
I’m sure you have, though. What have your pets gifted you that you appreciate? Any unusual, wacky pets or companions out there?
Please don’t reply Yes, my husband.
Have a lovely weekend, when you get to it!
As always, thanks for dropping by and sitting with me a while.