John J. Audubon, "Birds of America: American Crow," 1827
They look for me, now, gathering one by one, backing away when I call them as if my voice were a wave, lapping, as if they were shorebirds. Each a person in their own right—feigning disinterest or avid and impatient, as I fumble the first toss—each assessing the odds for a fast grab, before a car skitters down the street, before the bounty becomes a trap. Presence, in that moment, is a construct—presence of mind, moment to moment. The story of how close we come to death, how far we’ll go to live.