The Ravens And The Rabbit

The barnyard and woods beyond. On the hill behind the gate is where I left the rabbit.

I woke at 6 am.  Back in bed after three nights of me on the couch and Jon sitting up in his stuffed chair to ease his coughing.  My first thought was that I lost my curiosity, my sense of wonder. My brain is a tightly tied knot and I can’t see beyond myself.

Then, the raven’s throaty caw again and again outside my window.

As I drift back to sleep, images of a raven woman flow in and out with my consciousness. Nothing concrete, just flashes, bits, and pieces.

An hour later I walked into the pole barn to get the shovel and rake and there in the barnyard were six or seven ravens. They hopped on the ground and circled low, landing and lifting when they saw me. Their black bodies turning silver in the light as they turned their backs on me.

I watched all of them disappear into the woods, remembering my visions from when I lay in bed earlier.

It was only when I had cleaned up and was going to close the gate that I saw the dead rabbit not twenty feet from the barn.

Not a whole rabbit, only the hind quarters. It looked like someone had ripped it in half.   The long legs were stretched out as if in a full leap, a pile of gray innards where the rest of the body should have been.

This had been a big rabbit, not something the cats would have left on the back porch.  I wondered if it was the same one that came out to watch Fate circle the sheep a few days ago.

Who had done this?  What animal sat so close to the barn, and devoured a rabbit?  The donkeys wouldn’t tolerate a coyote, fox or fisher. So maybe it was a bird.  The rabbit seemed too big for the Redtail hawks who spend the summer here. Maybe it was an eagle or osprey.

I tried to picture it.

A few years ago I’d seen a bald eagle on the dirt road where I walk with the dogs.  He sat in front of our neighbor’s barn, picking at something in his claws.  It looked huge, at least three feet tall from where I stood, but flew away before I got too close, leaving the remains of the animal behind.

I imagined the sheep and donkeys watching as that same eagle devoured the rabbit.  But why had he left half of it behind?  Maybe it was a coyote or fox and the donkeys chased it away when they came in from grazing.

I searched for tracks, some disturbance in the ground around the rabbit, but it looked to me as if the rabbit dropped out of the sky. I might have thought it did if its intestines weren’t laying neatly next to it.

It made me think about how our domesticated animals live on the edge of the woods, on the edge of the wild. Who knows what goes on at night, what they see, who they chase away or run from, and who they let share their gated space.

I scooped up the rabbit legs and intestines and tossed them over the fence into the tall grasses. But as I walked back to the barn, I realized that it was the dead rabbit that had attracted the ravens to the barnyard this morning.

They were scavenging the remains of someone else’s kill.

It didn’t seem right to me that the rabbit, already dead, shouldn’t be eaten. That I had disturbed the ravens’ breakfast.

So I went back and sifted through the tall grasses till I found the remains of the rabbit.  This time I put it on the highest point in the back pasture.  In plain sight for the ravens or anyone else to see.

As I sit on the back porch writing this, a raven is high in the trees that border the farm. It’s making that “clunking” sound like tapping on hollow wood, round and empty.

The knot in my brain loosens a little as I listen.   I feel like the ravens have woken me up.  Sparked my sleeping curiosity and wonder.  I’m glad I returned the rabbit to them.

I think of the raven woman who came to me early in the morning. I think it’s time to bring her to life.

6 thoughts on “The Ravens And The Rabbit

  1. I can.t say it often enough, Raven’s choose who they let see them. It is not an everyday thing for anyone.
    You have Raven energy for certain.

    And yes it is time that she comes to life.

  2. Ooh! I love this story, there are so many references in it…
    One of my best friends, may her soul rest in peace, was a therapist who often used dream materials.
    One of the things that I will always remember about that is that her feeling was that every ‘being’ in a dream represents an aspect of the dreamer. And that dreams often tend to be very literal. They ‘take’ from the closet of our memories and ‘use’ it to play out the dream. Sometimes the dream is just nonsense, just like cleaning up and emptying the day’s ‘cache’. Sometimes it is very much like halucination due to medication taken at bed time.
    But sometimes, when the dream stays with us over days, there might be a real story there, to remind us of something.

    I live in suburbia, so we don’t see ravens often. I once saw one and marveled at how huge it was. After winter, it must have smelled or seen a lot of dead rodents in your small yard. I had not even noticed them myself. But there it was. Coming out of nowhere, picking up the rodents one by one, putting them in a neat row on the top of the fence, until the work was done. It then amazingly was able to stuff all of the rodents in its beak and left town…

    I have holy respect for ravens. They clean up garbage and have acute senses.

    What if the ravens in your dream want to remind you of your own acute senses? You may be in the Covid fog still, but that is (hopefully) temporary. But your sense are sharpening again. Maybe each raven is the representation of something you are in the process of working out. There are parts that are disgusting, like the intestined. But the legs were there. Rabbit legs are fast. Faster than the things inside that you may shudder about. In the morning after, while still in a bit of a daze, you saw all of it in real life and initially hid the gruesome remains of the nice bunny. But then you changed your mind and offered it up to the ravens, who seemed eager to come and finish the job. So looking at it from the outside as a stranger to your life, I might offer up that this was a healing dream!

    You don’t have to post this: it’s just my train of thought… feel free to discard if it does not make sense to you!

    Wishing you continued recovery!

    1. I love this idea Nicky. The ravens cleaning up, it’s got me thinking. I also like the idea of beings in a person’s dream being an aspect of them. It may help me understand future dreams. And your raven story is wild!! That must have been amazing to witness!Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. I just read on Poe_the_Raven on Instagram that a government agency looks for circling ravens to find poached animals. The ravens have learned a gunshot means lunch! There were more details in the post, but those are the highlights.

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