Alpine Lady

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

Raven’s Journey ~ Chapter Four: Otter

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From an upcoming project ~ Raven’s Journey:

Chapter Four: Otter

The rain fell even harder. Large, pelting drops found their way through the foliage of his shelter and bounced off his body. This made Raven mad. He shook furiously, blowing the water from his nostrils. Snapping his powerful beak together, he began making raucous raven noises. Maybe this, he thought to himself, will wake up the spirits, make them take notice of me and answer my questions!

Suddenly, Otter rose on her hind legs, looked in his direction, and began shrilling whistling, which effectively stopped his tantrum. Otter stopped when he stopped, then chuckled softly. Raven attentively cocked his head listening to the chuckling sound he’d heard otters make when they were with family. Why use it now? he wondered.

Otter turned and took off loping down the beach. At this Raven also took to flight, rising above the beach but keeping her in sight. It appeared she expected him to do so and made no effort to hide her movements. As she bounded along, he noticed the rain had almost stopped. The fog was lifting, making it quite easy to see into the forest ahead.

Otter eating flounder on the tidelands of Salish Sea

Otter eating flounder on the tidelands of Salish Sea

The river otter ran to the braided delta of a small river that plunged down a series of rapids before entering the ocean. He watched Otter navigate nimbly around the tumbled rocks lining the river’s bank, keeping a streamlined form, although nothing in comparison to the way both sea and river otters maneuvered in water. Many sea otters lived in the ocean but they rarely came on land. River otters, however, denned on land, raising their families along the wilder creeks and rivers, agilely sliding, diving and hunting amidst the rapids. They also swam in the ocean and frequented the tidelands gleaning fish, clams and snails.

Raven looked around; something was tugging his awareness, something totally familiar. There was a magical feeling here in this landscape that he couldn’t quite place or shake off.

Although Raven and Otter were animals living within the realms of Earth, in the realm of Spirit, they were the archetypes, the patterns mediating the primal powers for their species. From the Divine Source, their energetic seeds had spawned all of their own kind. Raven looked at Otter and from the point of being still, he now thought and would speak as the archetype known as Raven.

Raven was awed by Otter’s medicine and had, in the past, known her as a strong female ally. The archetype known as Otter encouraged him when he was young to find a teacher who could help him develop his strong, creator medicine spirit. Instead, he ignored her and lived vicariously through the deeds of humans, whose actions eventually brought discord and destruction to much of First Earth. I’m afraid that’s why the spirits haven’t told me anything about this storm, he thought to himself. I’ve not regained their trust, yet! 

Otter, both as archetype and animal, bounded along a narrow game trail running the near side of the river. Raven, forced to not lose sight of her, spun higher to gain altitude, searching for glimpses of her rich brown coat running next to the water’s edge.

He flew across a broad opening in the trees where the river snaked around a bend and peering down, Raven noticed Otter had stopped and was standing on her hind legs looking up at him. He came around and landed effortlessly in a tree at the edge of the opening.

Almost immediately, images of times past cascaded through his mind: lifetimes ago as a fledgling, of meeting Otter, seeking shelter in her home…perhaps a den along this river? He saw himself take on spirit form and follow her through the depths of the river, confronting other lives, other dimensions, eating flesh, becoming flesh, his bones scattered, being absorbed by the flora and fauna of forest and sea. Then he saw glimpses of humans, being fascinated by their physical appearance, of being fascinated with their attention on him but then being slowly seduced by their magic. Raven shuddered and withdrew. Slowly coming into his body, he croaked nervously and could hear Otter chuckling. (to be continued…)

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