Orinthomancy is an Ancient Greek practice of reading omens from the actions of birds.
Before you get upset, there were no casualties, except for the crow, and since I didn't stop to offer aid, he (or she) may have picked himself up off the road and headed off, looking embarrassed. But somehow I don't think so. My last sight of the suicide bomber was of the body sprawled smack in the middle of the opposite lane where it had fallen.
So I am left with an odd memory of an large black bird plastered across the windshield in front of me, before it slid off into oblivion. And I do mean large: splayed out, it occupied more than half the width of the window. All black. I had no time or opportunity to react before the episode was over and what was left of the bird was in my rearview mirror.
All right, you say, why should anyone care about me and that bird? Here's why: because at that particular moment I was driving past the colonial house that is the heart of my Orchard Mystery series. So of course I have to assume that it was a bird of omen, not just a crow with no sense.
But what's the omen? Internet sources are inconclusive. Modern Witchcraft Journal holds that the observation of a crow is typically a negative sign, but it could also mean that "an old soul will enter your life and bring a message." Or take, "One crow bodes bad luck." (Certainly for the crow, in this case.) I've actually had an Irish relative quote me the old saying, "One for sorrow, two for joy," although in that case it applied to magpies rather than crows.
It is said that the approach of a bird from the right "foretells of good fortune." However, "black [bird] predicts trouble of some kind."
Gypsies see crows as surrounded by mystery and exceptionally wise (well, this one wasn't!).
So what message am I supposed to take away from this? Does this putative "bad luck" refer to me? The Orchard series? Or some trouble not related to the books? (Of course, the only reason I was on that road at that moment was because of the books.) Or I could look at this from the other side and say the bad luck fell upon the bird, not me, since the crow is the one that suffered and the car and I emerged unscathed, if startled (me, not the car). Or maybe in was one of those Granford ancestors trying to get my attention and tell me something—but what?
Do you believe in omens? What's your interpretation?