Ravens, Not Writing Desks

image: SeEtta Moss
Inexplicable, this love affair I have with Raven. My father hated the bird – stealer of eggs, killers of fledglings. It was in fact his disdain for these predators, combined with a protective reflex for their prey, that may have endowed the man with respect for something precious and worth preserving: a reverence for life that his fellow human beings simply did not engender.

Perhaps it’s the inky black feathers which, when sunlight fastens upon them, flash indigo. Or their catty way of communicating from lookouts lodged atop the highest trees.Time and again I have observed them in the Maine woods and in the absolute stillness of the New Mexican high desert. And what I have come to comprehend is that many of their seemingly indiscriminate cries are not devoid of purpose. One or more seem ever poised as lookouts, strung along a pathway only they might care to claim as their own. And when danger seems imminent, the deep guttural cawing begins – slowly at first, as the primary lookout bird’s sharp beady eyes detect intrusion. Then along the line it continues, sentries escalating alarm into a collective crescendo until the event elapses – even if it is only a harmless human walking a dog.

Ravens are bold and will look you directly in the eye, unlike many fellow scavengers. And when you try imitating them, if you are earnest, they will cock their heads, search your features as if sensing sincerity and, if you are fortunately inclined, answer you back.


John Tenniel's interpretation of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven (1858)

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

~ The Mad Hatter

7 thoughts on “Ravens, Not Writing Desks

  1. I listened to a crow cawing across the river from where I was hiking today – seemd to me s/he was just enjoying the echo of her own voice across the water. It was quite lovely, walking the stillness of the forest, listening to a bird that was so talkative…

    1. Although it might be presumptuous of me to say what other species are thinking, I would agree with you – I think sometimes these ‘talking’ birds – including ‘the crows of Hawaii’ as my husband calls the mynah birds – simply like to hear themselves talk, much as some humans do! After all, they have been endowed with the most glorious voices!

  2. Hi Bela, Have a Merry Christmas. May your Christmas be filled with all that you wish for. I know you will have a great time. Meanwhile, I wish to remain with Best Regards. Michael.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s