Kathleen Alcalá

The Clueless Eater

Trash Talking Crows

July 11, 2012

Trash talking crows
The crows in my neighborhood have been talking a lot lately. Flying back and forth from tree to tree, sharing their thoughts with each other and anyone who cares to listen. They like to stay up high, where they can look down on us and criticize our clothing and our hair. They are gossips.

Mostly, I think they are talking about the fires all over the country. We just returned from a driving trip through Colorado and New Mexico, chased by smoke and fire, and 100 degree heat. On the plane, I sat next to a forester traveling to Colorado from Canada, who said that world temperatures have risen exponentially since the advent of the Industrial Revolution. It’s getting harder and harder to deny that humans are exacerbating climate trends already be in play. These trends might be natural, but we are now in the way, with our houses and cars, our sidewalks and parking lots.

“There goes that tree!” scream the crows. “There goes another tree!”

We think one tree, or two, or twenty in a neighborhood won’t make a difference, but each large tree absorbs 500 gallons of water a day that would otherwise run off into the ocean. The more we build on our soggy island, the more we dry it out. The more people we add, the fewer people we will be able to support.

A few nights ago a storm of hail and lightning swept through the area. It was fierce and short. By morning, flames had consumed a restaurant on the island. The cause is not yet known. A huge cedar still stands untouched behind the remains of the building.

“Fire! Fire!” the crows squawk.

They don’t like it anymore than we do.
Enter your e-mail address below to subscribe or unsubscribe from the mailing list.

privacy policy

Read Past Newsletters

Selected Works

Creative nonfiction, memoir, environmental sustainability.
Combining memoir, historical records, and a blueprint for sustainability, The Deepest Roots shows us how an island population can mature into responsible food stewards and reminds us that innovation, adaptation, diversity, and common sense will help us make wise decisions about our future. And along the way, we learn how food is intertwined with our present but offers a path to a better understanding of the future.
Creative Nonfiction
Essays on Family and Writing

The Desert Remembers My Name makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
Bloomsbury Review
"...a mesmerizing tale... the author explores the fascinating confusions and contradictions plaguing a culture precariously poised between tradition and modernization."
"She never forgot the power of storytelling as testimony."
The Utne Reader
"Kathleen Alcalá's Spirits of the Ordinary is an enthralling book..."
–Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books

"This book entered my dreams."
–Alberto Rios
Short Fiction
"Thoroughly satisfying."
The New York Times Book Review

"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."
Publishers Weekly

Find Authors