I’d walk out to the outhouse, so that I could pee in the woods, and see the black raven sitting on the branch in the darkening light. His wings would be so black, his eyes black, his feet black, his big black beak. He was black as night and soon I wouldn’t be able to see him at all. As the sun was setting I could see the iridescent gloss of blues and purples on his black wings. I loved to see him fly so high, his wings outstretched to 4 feet with the four thin feather fingers on the tips—swooshing in the air. He and his mate would make rolls, somersaults, in the clear blue sky, just for fun, just for joy. I could hear him calling to her, in his deep throated cree, cree, gronk, gronk, knock, knock. I’d often hear them call to each other when I walked in our woods. They’d follow me. They came to tell me secrets.
Of course they would, they wanted to tell me about the woods, about their carrion find up the path, about how they mate for life, and just hang out in pairs. They wanted to tell me that they too can problem solve, like I can, and can take a rock and drop it on someone who they don’t like, or steal a fish from a fisherman or point with their beaks to indicate where an object is. They can call to the wolves and tell them about the site of a dead carcass so that the wolves chew open the bones and viscera and leave the scraps for them. The black raven, messenger of the gods, trickster, friend of coyote, who stole fire from the Sun and then delivered this gift of warmth to poor-naked-shivering-man.
In the boat, bouncing up and down with the waves, rocking with the motion, drifting in my thoughts, I could see the liquid gold sunlight dancing on the water, jumping in ecstasy. One whale blow far off, but no sighting close up. Skunked. But the view of the ocean, the sun on the water, blue horizontal stripes on a silver molten stream, the stripes just coming and coming into my view. The ocean – our blood. Life blood. life stream. I am the life blood of your earth. Keep me clean. Keep your life blood clean.
Next whale trip. A blue whale’s tale. An early morning sunrise yellow orange blue above. The bay all lit up by the surrounding mountains. Moon light on the water still, the moon has not set yet. Pink waves on one side of the boat, orange waves on the other side of the boat. Sunrise colors. Sunrise light. Pink hills. Pink clouds above, bright blue water beneath us. Dolphins chasing below us. So fast in the blue green waters. A pod of ten. Showing off for us, how fast they can race the boat. Rock people, sentinels, in the mountains. Their faces upturned to the skies, faces to the sky, whispering the words of wisdom. They evolve and change slowly and see it all, feel it all, for eons, as they surround the bay. And suddenly the noise of a whale’s exhale. A whale’s breath. I could hear them first before I could see the spray up. Then wait, wait, and a slow moving of a back dorsal above the water’s edge, then wait, and another dorsal view, four times and the last view a deep dive and the tail coming up to the top of the water, a wave flip up. aah. The last lingering dance good-by on top of the water. Magnificent!
At the water’s edge, sitting on rounded and sharpened pebbles, I looked across the crystalline glassy water. That’s when I saw a bump, a brown head gliding slowly towards me on the smooth dark waters. A sea otter. Not a small river otter, but a single, solo sea otter. No sightings here for years. The sea otter habitat is north, not here on this smaller island in the San Juans. But I saw him. I saw the sunlight on his wake. Continue Reading
We were trekking across the country in a homemade caravan wagon, built on the back of our Dodge pickup. We had our green truck outfitted like a gypsy caravan with a homemade camper that was arched and curved in shape. I thought that we were camping out in style because we had pots and pans, food, utensils and bedding, books, clothes, and flashlights all carried in the truck bed. All the necessities of home plus two dogs for warmth. Continue Reading
Once upon a time, for this is how all fairy tales start, there was a mighty king who called in his chief holy man to his presence. It was a custom in the king’s mighty kingdom to have a ceremony when the king turned of a certain age to prove to all of his people that he had royal blood. The king asked his oracle to please give him the tiny cut on his small finger to show that he was of royal blood. The holy man agreed and many attended the grand ceremony and the holy man raised the knife to prick the king’s finger, but the knife slipped and instead of a nick the king lost half of his little finger. The king was furious and banished the holy man. The holy man said to him, but you will be saved by this injury and come to thank me. Continue Reading