Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ravens on the ground

While running outside, I like to notice the animals. One early dawn, an opossum saw me. I noticed the squint in the eyes, the holding of breath, the stance of this opossum screamed, "Don't look at me!" I scanned the trees nearby and knew the nocturnal creature was heading home for the end of his night. Today, all the ravens were on the ground. Dozens of ravens sat on the ground this afternoon while I ran my 2.5 miles. My pace slower today, it was more like a plod. The ravens watched me lumber down the road foot in front of the other. I watched the ravens waddle and strut in the grass. Block after block, foot plod after foot plod, ravens squatted in yard after yard, block after block. Sometimes, when I have enough spittle in the back of my throat, I can talk with the ravens. Today, my mouth dry, my caw did not have enough raw in it. The ravens turned their heads scoffed. Look, I am the first one to laugh at humans who attribute emotions to animals, but in this case, it is true. These ravens scoffed at me, the silly human who thinks she can talk with us. One raven, alone on a yard a block away from the first group, looked at me with narrow eyes and sullen sneer of the beak. "He is an evil one," I tell myself as I trudge by the black as soot bird. I imagined the bird cawing grouchily with his neighbors, flying into the doves on purpose, and raiding the nests of unsuspecting finches. His threatening look kept me from moving closer, and I ran instead towards the middle of the road. Watching the ravens walk around the lawns made me think of the day, oh gosh, back in 1996 or 1997 when sitting at a park in West Covina, California. I sat under a redwood tree with my boyfriend. We both felt sorry for the redwood trying to breathe in the smoggy haze. A raven walked with a halted gait in our direction and stopped right in front of us. We sat stunned as the raven looked directly at us, and then the raven grunted. Its face grimaced, as if constipated, and the raven shed one feather and waddled away. I still have the feather. Raven known as the messenger of Odin, the creator, the trickster, the originator of death, the bringer of light. Raven the wondrous, raven the rapturous, Poe did you no justice. Nevermore, nevermore.