Raven Story

Kanti is sitting perfectly still, barking, right at the south east corner of the property, looking off across the clearing.  She is watching about a dozen ravens circling, landing, lifting off, circling again.  I can't see what is attracting them but I know there must be something on the ground, out of my sight.  Through the day I go back and forth to the window drawn to the raven fest, watching for clues as to their source of fascination.

A dark shape emerges from the brush and my heart speeds up.  It is not a coyote. The body is longer and the colouring is too dark.  It merges back into the bushes and then appears again to the left.  I grab the camera, switching out the lenses as I go so that I can take a picture of whatever the creature is because I am quite certain no one will believe me.  I manage to get a decent photo and when I enlarge it, I am both relieved and disappointed to see another domestic dog in the screen.  I had been thinking cougar.   It's not a dog I recognize from the area, but it is sniffing at something on the ground where the ravens have been.  Then it fades back into the trees and disappears.

The ravens return from their treetop perches when the strange dog leaves.  Kanti remains at the property corner, a faithful sentry observing the activity across the pond.  Most of the day she patiently watches and waits.  While she keeps watch, I take naps that are several hours long in the middle of the day trying to fight off the virus that has invaded my body.  Each time I wake I am compelled to check out the raven activity again.

 It goes on all day and various critters join the ravens.  Kanti becomes very vocal again, raising an alert that another critter is in the vicinity.  I look out to see a coyote materializing from the tree line on a mission to get to the spot where the ravens are having a party.  The coyote trots right on in but the ravens are less than welcoming.  They fly low, circling the coyote, taking turns dive-bombing it until the coyote retreats.  I wonder how long Kanti will be content to remain at home watching all that fun from over the fence.

The coyote resorts to mousing about twenty feet away from the ravens, while Kanti watches.  It pounces into the fresh snow burying its nose into the tunnels that the mice scurry through.  It's tail is up wagging in the sunlight, just doing what God created it to do, and it makes me smile despite my pounding head, sore body, and raw nose.  But the sunlight is beginning to retreat and I still don't know what it is that has the entire population of swake critters so busy in the clearing.

What you and I both know is that I am not going to walk over to the clearing to figure it out, I will wait patiently for Greg to come home and he will go over to the clearing.  There are several reasons for this approach.  First, I don't want to tangle with a coyote.  Second, I hate birds that dive-bomb people.  Third, I am actually not sure I really want to see whatever it is that has the animals attention - I am well versed enough to know it is probably something dead.

The resident hunter does the investigative work reporting back that was something dead that is not a gut pile.  He also provides other details I didn't ask for like the amount and type of tracks to the scene and the quantity of fur left behind.  I am slightly grossed out so he reassures me that it will all be cleaned natures-way in a day or so.  I am glad my ears are kind of plugged and I only hear half of the gory details.  But the circling of the ravens stays with me all week stuck in my head along with the cold virus, long after the gut pile is history.

I wonder what it is about the story that bothers me, why does it circle and taunt me?  What is it about the ravens that wiggles up against my consciousness? I realize that I see the ravens as mean and cruel, and I am reminded of the importance of reframing the stories we tell ourselves.  The ravens didn't kill the animal, a hunter did.  The ravens were just doing what they were intended to do, they cleaned up and they had a little fun with the coyote along the way.  They were not mean or cruel, they were just fulfilling their role in nature's cycles as they have done for thousands of years before I was here and as they will do after I am gone.  I wonder what other stories I am carrying that I need to reframe?