I sat out on my balcony tonight for the first time this year, dragged a wooden chair out and ate chocolate-covered pretzels and started a new book, The Painter, by Peter Heller. Just warm enough, and just enough light. There was this crow — perched up on the peak of the neighbor's garage — he'd been trailing me all day as I worked out in the yard. Couldn't figure out what it was he wanted, but as I raked up the vinca clippings from the driveway, he picked around in the leavings, just behind me. When I spoke to him (her?), he swooped up to the telephone line and watched me. He's often out when I dig in the vegetable patch, always in my wake, looking for something. Have I missed some shiny trinket? Is there one buried that, if I'm lucky, will reveal itself? A friend recently unearthed a gold and opal ring while working her garden. This bird sparks my curiosity. What does it know that I don't? —much, I am certain. And if I find some buried gem, I'll think I'll offer it to my black-winged companion. There is nothing I need that wouldn't fare better clutched in a crow's beak.