Alpine Lady

Honoring the natural world through prose, poetry, music, sounds, photographs and musings.

Raven’s Journey ~ Chapter Three: Medicine Animals

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From an upcoming project ~ Raven’s Journey:

Chapter Three: Medicine Animals

Raven waited, his impatience replaced with the anticipation of seeing the spirits who had driven back the fog  for he knew great forces had been necessary to disperse so thick a fog. He speculated on just who that might be but came up with no real clues.  Around him, the tide crackled and hissed, loosening its grip on the slippery gray, black and white beach stones that carpeted the sands.

Adult Bald Eagle

Adult Bald Eagle

A familiar hiss of air, an orca’s outgoing breath, drew his attention seaward. Alert for clues and eager to solve the mystery, he noted that of the spirits, Orca called first. Before he could decipher its message, however, the heavy wing beat of a large bird caused him to nervously swivel around and face the woods just as an adult bald eagle swooped out of the misted trees and flew directly at him, beak open, wings angled, talons outstretched. Raven squatted awkwardly onto the slippery rocks but knew there was no real protection if the large raptor meant this as an attack. Its white head and fanned tail feathers stood out prominently against the gloom of the forest. Raven squatted still lower and anxiously watched Eagle fly towards him but at the last moment retract its talons and maneuvering its longs wings, gain altitude, turning in front of him to fly down the beach on a flight parallel to the water’s edge. The mists further along the shore swallowed his image although Raven continued to hear its screeching chirps for some time.

Nervously peering about, he glanced back at the saltwater. “Kraawk!” his throaty cry came in response to the smooth ripples of the large dolphin’s wake. Orca, barely submerged, moved slowly, giving him time to watch for a signature fin or saddle pattern. Seemingly on cue to satisfy his curiosity, a plume of stale breath broke the surface, followed by the sickle-shaped dorsal fin of the large female who dove into deeper waters off shore. Raven began questioning: Why had these two powerful medicine animals made an appearance and why had Eagle been so threatening?

He knew Orca’s medicine and that of other dolphins was in honoring the rhythms of nature, using the breath and sound languages to heal. Eagle on the other hand, sought to gain a higher and broader perspective and to see things as they truly are, conserving energy until the right time for action. One animal represented water; the other, air.

Seaweed lodged against drift logs

Seaweed lodged against drift logs

As he speculated, a sound out of rhythm with the constant, rumbling waves caught his attention. He eyed the strands of seaweed lying snarled amidst the chunks of shredded cedar bark stripped off the logs by heavy wave action. Raven recognized the sounds as the scraping sounds made by a deer pawing at the seaweed. Within moments, a yearling doe came around the end of a log and dug at some strands of kelp wedged under it. The young deer looked up at him momentarily but continued pawing.

Raven acknowledged Deer as a people of the land whose medicine reminded him to honor each other’s path with gentleness of spirit. His own Raven medicine was one of magic, of entering into the great void from which all emerged and bringing its messages forward. The many animal messages puzzled Raven and left him reflecting on their meanings as he gazed at the doe now nibbling up the seaweed she had dug out.

While he deliberated, the grayness that had at first appeared to be lessening, instead began to increase, further dulling the day’s light. Heavy raindrops pelted the beach and both Deer and Raven sought shelter, carefully picking their way over the stones and into the undergrowth at the edge of the beach. The doe instantly bounded off across the spongy mosses and bog plants. He heard her brush up against the shrubbery, but only briefly before the forest and its mists swallowed her flight.

In the distance, he heard the scolding of a squirrel. It could have been alerting the forest community to the doe’s passage or it might have signaled a large animal was out hunting and there could be a kill for Raven to scavenge. Although he spent much of his time in solitude, squirrels were important to Raven, noisily reminding him that there was other life in his world of mists and magic and to be prepared for its unfolding.

Raven hobbled towards a larger stream of fresh water. As he bent to drink, a small frog jumped past his beak and into the flowing waters. He thought to himself had he not just eaten, he would have made a meal of the frog. Now, however, he accepted Frog’s presence as a medicine sign indicating the need to live in a clean environment. He looked into the water where Frog disappeared but was met by the sleek head of a river otter, the frog in its mouth. He watched Otter devour Frog with a few snaps of its whiskered jaws before climbing onto shore.

Raven felt thoroughly confused. Trying to sort out and make sense of all the signs perplexed him. Now Otter, a symbol of playfulness and sharing good fortune with others, had eaten a medicine animal right in front of him. What did all this mean?…to be continued.

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One thought on “Raven’s Journey ~ Chapter Three: Medicine Animals

  1. I’ve had days like Raven is experiencing: full of medicine and messages and mist and magic and mystery ~ I’m usually left thinking exactly how this piece ends: What does it all mean?!?!? I look forward to finding out what Raven discovers …

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