It’s 4.53 am. I know that because I’m awake. Someone or something is tap dancing on our roof.
“What is that?” I whine.
“The ravens”, my husband replies
“I hate them.” I pull the pillow over my head.
“Caaaw… Caaaw Caaaw.”
I’m up now. I splash cold water on my face, pull on some joggers and go downstairs. I open the shutters and get down on the floor into Cobra; might as well do some stretching now that I’m awake. I’m basically like one of those Hollywood stars or high-powered CEOs – waking up to stretch my spine and drink kombucha while all the other suckers waste their lives sleeping. Not me. I’ll sleep when I’m dead, thanks to the ravens.
From my serpentine position I look out of the window. Perched on a branch, two dopey pigeons look back at me.
“Caaaaw caaaaw”, a raven responds from her nest in a nearby nook.
“Fuck off”, I mumble, as I move into downward dog.
These are the same birds that will have spent the whole night excreting diarrhoea over every car – and pavement – on the street. The same ones I spied ripping open our neighbour’s bins and spreading the contents all over their path. The very same birds that have woken me up at not-even-5-am. Why are they here? These morons could be in the Bahamas right now, or New York, or Iceland or Tokyo – or the Tower of London with the rest of their lot. But no, they’ve decided to build their nests here and Broadway Tap their way across my roof at the crack of dawn.
I stretch my arms out and bring my hips back into child pose.
We’re basically under siege. It’s just like The Birds, but instead of raw menace, we’re being tormented with explosive shit and tap dancing.
I stand and bend forward over my thighs.
They’ve got to go. But how? How do we get rid of them? I wouldn’t be against them dying, but I’m not going to kill them. Is it against the law to kill them? Probably.
“Caaaw caaaw caaaw. CAAAAW”.
What are they even saying? Are they talking to each other? Or are they just doing it because they can — some sort of affirmation of their own existence: I am raven, hear me caaaaw?
I get into bridge pose and stare up at the lampshade. A shard of sunlight cuts across the ceiling. I look at my watch. 5.09.
Now that I’m awake, what should I do? My mind floods with a flock of concurrent ideas: read a book, go for a run, tidy the cupboard of doom (as if), bake a cake, drink a coffee in the garden –
I jump up and go to the window. From here I can see my husband’s car, the windscreen almost entirely obliterated by bird poo. The rest of their dirty protest is all over the pavement; a hideous, slimy fresco in nauseating shades of brown, green, and orange. “Pricks.”
I pick up my phone and Google ‘how to get rid of ravens’. Someone suggests playing predator noises. Right. I open the window, turn up the volume on my phone, stick my arm out and play the sound of a cat miaowing, expecting to see them flying away in mad panic. They don’t bat a wing. One of them turns to look at me, head tilted, as if to say: “Is that all you’ve got, bitch?”
No, that isn’t all I’ve got. I’ve got Google, motherfuckers!
I scroll down through the related search results… ‘When you cross a raven, the bird will hold a grudge.’ Christ – I thought that was just folklore. I look at them again, these marble-eyed harbingers of vengeance. The one that keeps eye-balling me has definite Joe Pesci vibes. Quietly, I close the window and slink back to the centre of the room.
I stand on one leg, resting my other foot against my thigh.
The early morning light dances over the rug, scattering little lilypads of sunshine here and there. It’s quite lovely really, being up at this time; a little moment of stillness all to myself.
Maybe I will drink a coffee in the garden, yes, and read my book.
Then again, maybe I won’t.