Every season wears a different wardrobe. Spring slips on a raincoat of purple wildflower and yellow pollen. Summer dresses in waxy green and sunburnt red. It’s all earthen hues in autumn – rust and rose and gold, while winter, of course, sports a scarf of snowy white.
But it’s not just the sights that signify the seasons’ shifts; it’s the sounds, too. There is a soundtrack for every season under the sun. Some are simply background tracks – nature’s elevator music, if you will. The wind always blows and the coyotes never quit howling. Other sounds, though, are season-specific. Spring is trumpeted by turkeys and treefrogs and rumbling thunder. Summer sounds like cicadas buzzing and bullfrogs croaking. Fall’s leaves crunch and winter’s wind whistles and moans.
My favorite of nature’s messengers, though, is the crow. To me, no sound speaks to the changing of seasons like the call of a crow. As harsh and as grating as it may be, the crow’s caw, in my ears, is like a ringing of Pavlov’s bell. Every time I hear it, my eyes are drawn involuntarily to field edges. My ears perk up at the rustling of leaves. My trigger finger twitches. The call of the crow heralds my favorite season. Hunting season.
I associate the crow’s caw with those bright, bitter afternoons of early winter when, perched in a tree, alone and alive, I hear the bird and wonder if it’s berating a whitetail buck passing below. That, or warning said buck of my presence. Either way, the crow signals solitude and serenity. It transports me from the office to the tree stand, from the monotony of routine to the possibility of adventure.
The thermometer is pushing triple digits today and it’s late summer’s humidity, not fall’s first frost, that’s fogging up my windshield. Honestly, it feels more like tick season today than it does deer season. But I just stepped outside and heard a crow caw. And now I can’t wait to get to the woods.