I woke up to the Ravens calling to each other out our bedroom window. I thought they were crows and didn’t think it unusual until I went out with the dogs a little while later.
What sounded like a throaty bark came from above me.
I looked up into the old maple tree thick with leaves but couldn’t find the bird. Within moments a similar sound answered from the other Maple. The tree, outside my studio where I hang my potholders on to take pictures.
I couldn’t see a bird in that tree either. But I knew they were there. Back and forth the single bark went as if it were the trees themselves talking.
Then another cry. This one a screech that came from the trees across the pasture in our neighbor’s yard.
The barking and screeching went on for a while. I didn’t know what they were saying , but I had no doubt that the three birds were having a conversation.
Then a big black bird flew from the tree above me as if shot from a cannon. I watched it wing its way across the pasture in seconds and land in the group of trees the screech came from.
Not a minute later another big black bird materialized from the other maple and headed for the same trees.
Now they were quiet and I went back into the house. I made myself a cup of tea using mint that I’d dried from my garden, then sat on the back porch steps. The sun warmed me and I watched the bees and flies hum in the garden.
Then suddenly, one of the big black birds was back.
It landed in the birch tree in front of me. This time I could see it clearly. The tree is old, probably dying, and the leaves are small and thin on the branches.
The throaty barking began again. Two or three at a time. The black bird paced the bare branch only stopping to call out. It wasn’t long before the other big black bird flew in, landing on the other side of the tree.
As I watched I was thinking of my Crow Red Quilt. But these birds looked bigger than the crows I’m used to seeing sitting on the electrical lines around the farm.
I didn’t hear the screeching again and eventually, after being quiet for a while, both birds flew away.
I used the Merlin App to figure out that these birds were not crows but ravens.
Next, I went to Carol Law Conklin’s website Amityfarmbatik and looked up the batik that started it all. The name of her piece is Crow Alone. That settled my mind about the identity of the bird in the batik.
When I looked up the physical differences between a crow and raven, all the sources I came across said that size was how they could most easily be differentiated. Then when I read about them in Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak, he too suggested that the birds have similar meanings.
My Crow Red quilt came directly out of my own personal need for grounding as I have been transitioning through a new psychological awareness that I wrote about some weeks ago. Coming to more fully understand the effects of the trauma I experienced in my childhood is a process that I’m moving through.
So when I read in Andrew’s writing on both Raven and Crow the idea that they are symbols of creation and magic in our everyday life, it made sense to me.
“Each of us has the magician within, Andrews writes, and it is Raven which can show us how to bring that part of us out of the dark and into the light.” Raven teaches how to take that which is unformed and give it the form you desire.”
I know the Ravens who came onto the farm that morning were talking to each other. Possibly the one who was screeching was calling a warning or was an adolescent.
But their presence made me also feel like they were talking to me too. Bringing me a spiritual message.
So I’ll take their message as an affirmation of my ability to make the changes that I need to in order to move on in my life. To morn the past and let go of it. And to believe that can manifest something better for me, from its’ darkness.