Saturday, April 23, 2011

Corvus the Wayward Crow

By Mike Lynch, Meteorologist and Astronomer, for Lynch and the Stars

The constellation Corvis the Crow is certainly not one of those constellations that you stand out in your backyard and cling your eyes to in awe. The truth is that’s really a dumb little constellation and sure isn’t all that bright but yet it’s pretty easy to find.

You can find it hanging a little above the southeastern horizon, resembling a lopsided diamond in the early evening skies which unfortunately isn’t all that early. That’s a real curse to stargazers like me that have an early wake up call for the day job. Oh well, that’s why they make weekends and vacation days. Anyway, that lopsided diamond is supposed to be crow. It’s one of my favorite little constellations mainly because of its legend.

Crows really get a bad rap but in truth they’re one of the smartest birds around. In fact according to Greek and Roman mythology, crows were actually the more respected birds on Earth. Back then they were highly intelligent, sang a beautiful song and had bright white feathers with gold trim. They served the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus with great distinction until Corvus screwed it up for all crows forever.

Apollo, the god of the sun, dispatched Corvus the crow on a very important mission to fetch water from a far off magical fountain. Apollo dispatched the great bird with one his favorite chalices to collect the magical water. Corvus didn’t know exactly where the fountain was but he thought he knew which town to fly into. Corvus was fly recon over the whole hamlet and secure the magic liquid. Corvus, being less than a humble crow told Apollo that he should be back by that evening, no problem.

Finding that magic fountain proved to be a heck of lot harder that Corvus figured. There were lot of hills and valleys, caverns and many other places where the magic fountain could be hiding. It was also a hot Friday afternoon as Corvus flew around the city and surrounding countryside in vain search of his prize. Of course being a male crow, he was too stubborn to ask for directions. The afternoon got longer and throat got drier. His wings had had it! He had to take a break. In the distance he could see the flashing neon light of a rough neck bar and thought he’d catch the end of happy hour.

He swooped right into swinging doors and wouldn’t you know it, one his childhood crow buddies was sitting at the bar with a giant mug of beer and a pile of pull tabs. It was like old times! Corvus and his old buddies drank and talked for hours. As a joke he even had the bartender pour tap beer into Apollo’s chalice. At closing time, Corvus stumbled out of the “crow-bar” and passed out on a park bench clutching Apollo’s cup half full of beer.

The next morning a very hung over Corvus dumped leftover stale beer out of Apollo’s chalice and took to the skies resuming his search for the elusive magic fountain. After hours and hours of clumsy flying, Corvus was giving up. He decided it was time top fly back to Mount Olympus to face the music.

As he got closer to the home of the gods, he swallowed the rest of his breath mints to hide evidence of his wild night. Corvus could see Apollo standing out on his mountainous decking waiting for him. He could even see Apollo’s angry glare from a half mile away. All along the way back the wayward crow was concocting a story about how a crazed water snake bit him while he was getting a drink of water, making him too woozy to find the fountain.

When Corvus made his landing, he pitched his excuse about the crazed water snake and almost had Apollo convinced until he handed back the chalice. Oops! Corvus forgot to wash it out and it stunk of rotten beer. Corvus was busted! Apollo went nuclear, fired Corvus on the spot. He didn’t stop there though. Apollo banned all crow from Mount Olympus and used his magical godly powers to turn all crows from their beautiful white and gold colors to the jet-black colors we see today. Continuing his temper tantrum, he waved with his fore finger in anger once again and collectively turned all the crow’s beautiful singing voices into the caw caw we hear today.

If only Corvus stopped at one beer!

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