Alpine Lady

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

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Raven’s Journey ~ Chapter 14: Breathing as a Tree

Pink salmon or humpback salmon

Pink salmon or humpback salmon

During the height of the late summer fish migration, Otter reappeared in Raven’s life. He had flown upriver to find salmon carcasses drug ashore by the bears. Raven was hoping to find an area where he wouldn’t be bothered by the gulls who seemed to make a game out of snatching away his favorite morsels: fish eyes. There were so many salmon to plunder that Raven now took only the softest parts of the fish, especially the eyes. Amidst the feeding frenzy that accompanies a successful run of fish, the gulls were so bold as to not only steal from him, but also the eagles and practically out of the mouths of the bears. The gull strategy involved creating such a flurry of noise and fluttering confusion, making it easy to sneak in during the distraction and steal food. The gulls also aggressively stole from each other.

Raven was so intent on finding fish heads that he strutted right past Otter. She snarled, then chuckled at him. He cocked his head, inquisitively looking in the direction of the snarl. Relieved to see her at last, he watched as the sleek otter crawled up the bank, shook water from her fur and started loping along the river. Raven flew after her. He watched her traverse a route that took her strong body twisting under logs, loping on the cobbled stones, splashing through shallows and swimming in the deeper channels. She finally reached a side channel that fed into quiet waters bordering a sandy gravel bar with grasses and moss growing above the water line. Here Otter came ashore and began rolling and drying off her fur. Raven landed fairly close by on a moss-shrouded stump.

Much to Raven’s satisfaction, they began questioning each other about their time apart. Otter had been upriver, navigating a way toward the river’s source, talking to the ancestral spirits of the land and waters and its people, asking advice on to how to integrate with the newly re-evolving humanity who was making its way into the region.

To Raven, humans re-entering the territory was, indeed, exciting news!

Raven listened intently to every aspect of Otter’s journey. She mentioned that human energies had been felt by the People but rarely seen…small groups only…the last seen were two women, one man, traveling lightly, mostly under cover of darkness. This was all they shared.

Because Raven had become so wrapped up in the imagery evoked by Otter’s story, he failed to hear when she questioned him if he had noticed anything unusual which may have indicated signs of human activity. It took him a few moments before he realized she had stopped and was awaiting his response. He was intrigued especially thinking back on the flat fish he’d found earlier and the possible slice marks he had seen on its body.

And what of any personal changes you’ve seen in yourself or others that may indicate the emergence of the vibratory essence and its effects? she asked.

Raven thought back over the events since he’d delivered the message into the water droplet on the spider’s web. He couldn’t really say that he’d noticed any significant personal change nor seen any in the behavior of others, not if the behaviors of everyone during the fish migrations held any clues. Their actions seemed to be as instinctually driven as always, fighting and scrapping for food and domination.

Otter then asked him to share with her what he had been doing during her absence. Perhaps something would become more apparent as he shared. Raven became lost in thought once again, or maybe not in thought, but as she had once taught him, entering into deep stillness from which answers arose spontaneously. Taking a deep breath, he relaxed into the moment.

“Kraawk!” He had noticed change! It was easier for him to magically journey into other living forms. His favorite was to become one with the trees. Otter looked at him curiously so he continued. Raven told her how he learned that trees gave him not only shelter from storms and a roosting space at night, but also a gift that allowed him to breathe. He also recognized that he gave to the trees his breath which helped them prosper. All breathing organisms provided their breath which the trees gratefully took in, transformed and exchanged with fresh air to help sustain their lives. Otter nodded agreement.

In the beginning, all Raven needed to do was sincerely express his gratitude for the opportunity to address the tree; and then to visually observe the chosen tree: how it came out of the ground, how it grew upwards, the color and texture of its bark, was it marked by beetle damage or drilled by the woodpeckers, how far up the trunk before it began branching, how it spread into a crown or tapered upwards, whether it bore leaves or needles, cones or seed pods. He then examined the tree’s base for any roots that might be protruding through the duff. He also looked for mushrooms for they held a key to the underworld fungal network that connected the forest and beyond.

Grandmother Cedar, Dungeness River

Grandmother Cedar, Dungeness River

Once he was very aware of the external features of the tree, he began feeling himself taking on the shape of the tree, noticing himself as the tree, becoming aware of its outer texture, how the wind felt blowing in its branches and leaves. He’d breathe as Raven, breathing out his gift to Tree and then the reverse by taking the breath in as Tree and gifting the transformed air to Raven. After several such exchanges, he then stilled himself and asked the tree to share with him, allowing him to flow throughout its form and even to enter into the many networks of underground fungal trails that supported and communicated with the surrounding forest community. At some point, he would receive a subliminal response and a feeling of completeness that the communication was over. He would end his journey by becoming more aware of his current surroundings, the sun, the breezes blowing across his feathers or even the way the breezes struck a loosening feather which irritated its contact point on his long wing. Something that would bring him back into the moment. And Raven said that now his journeying took far less time to set up once he asked the tree’s permission and focused on his intent to journey…the flow began almost immediately. Raven would have continued telling her about his journeys with individual trees but he wanted to hear more from Otter.

You have done well, Raven. Clearly the energy of the essences is alive within you. Otter seemed pleased. Ease in communication between the many Peoples is one of the first signs, for it is no longer just an activity to be used within the realm of magic. Sharing communication is an essential function of our co-creative world.

This was good news to Raven. But how did it come about for me? he questioned.

You mentioned breath, Raven, and breathing is a major way for the essences to influence the living. The essences have vaporized into minute droplets of moisture which through the rough tumbling of their delivery in the oceans’ waters and storms’ turbulence have formed packets of pure energy carrying your signature wave. This wave influences the universal impulses surrounding and within our planet so that everywhere at once, all living organisms have the potential of vibrating with the intent of your message. When breathing, the moisture both in and out carries this highly energetic message and affects the matrix of energetic beings. Then it becomes a matter of sustaining that matrix with intention and co-operative action which you do when journey with the trees.

This was a lot for Raven to absorb and he needed time to digest what he had heard. Before he could hear more about Otter’s trek into the mountains, he needed a drink. Raven jumped off the stump and hopped to the river’s edge. Once his feet were in the water, he decided to give himself a proper bath. The feather that had stuck out at odd angles, giving rise to irritation, broke loose during his vigorous splashing and floated downriver.

Refreshed, he returned to hear more and, of course, to ask questions. He asked her immediately what the Peoples and the Ancestors had to say about humanity re-evolving and using Earth’s resources. He wondered if they indeed would honor the intent of his words. He still had doubts that his words could affect so many.

Otter mentioned that his heart energy had also gone into the message and never to discount the power of his love for life or his intrigue with the mystery of it all. Perhaps before I  say more, Raven, you might want to visit the humpback whales who are in the bays feeding in preparation to follow song lines south to their breeding grounds in the warmer seas.

Raven and Otter were quiet for a long time, the sounds of flowing waters and buzzing flies as background noise. After a while, Raven flew west towards the bay where he knew he’d find the whales.

(To be continued in Chapter 15: Grandfather Whale)


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Raven’s Journey ~ Chapter 13: Salmon

With the peak of summer light having passed, seasonal rains now dampened the land bringing the first salmon into the local streams and rivers to complete their journeys to ancestral spawning waters.

Salmon Cascades, Sol Duc Rainforest, Olympic National Park, WA

Salmon Cascades, Sol Duc Rainforest, Olympic National Park, WA

Most of the migrating salmon still milled about offshore in the river’s estuary waiting to be stimulated by the right olfactory message within the rain-refreshed waters to swim upstream along the creeks and rivers where they had been born. Having survived the trials of ocean life, their numbers were still subject to reduction by orcas and seals gorging on the migrating schools. For those who survived, they now swarm the gauntlet of stabbing claws, gnashing teeth and pecking bills that awaited them on their upstream, homeward journey. This they endured while struggling against the flow, around natural barriers and over rapids, vying for the choice spawning sites amidst challenging splashes of territorial defending and redd building activity on their epic journey. Raven took full advantage of the migrating season and speared numerous carcasses, savoring choice pieces of flesh left on the river banks or amongst the trees by the feasting bears, eagles and gulls.

Within days of spawning, completing the process of depositing fertilized eggs in the graveled beds, salmon die and their spent bodies begin drifting slowly downstream. Many skeletal remains in addition to fish-enriched scat will also be deposited throughout the forest by feasting animals assuring that throughout the food web: bacteria, algae, fungi, invertebrates, insect populations, amphibians, the river’s resident fish, predators, mosses,plants, bushes, trees…all will benefit from the successful spawning journey of the salmon.

skeleton, salmon

Salmon bones, Dungeness River, Olympic Peninsula, WA

These same waters ferrying the dead fish oceanward shelter their eggs in the bottom gravels until the young hatch into the fingerlings that in time, follow ancestral impulses seaward. Thus, Salmon People share potlatch with their home waters via their flesh and fertile eggs so the whole ecosystem may prosper.

(To be continued in Chapter 14: Breathing the Trees

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“Day and Night” ~ Songs of a Medicine Walker

Dawn: The chill of night gives way to the warm breath of day.

Daytime: The earth soaks up the warming rays and grows pregnant with light.

Dusk: The breath of day relaxes and prepares for slumber.

Night: A creeping darkness unable to subdue the jeweled star crystals dancing atop the ocean’s waves or caught in the bellies of fireflies.

Dawn on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Olympic Peninsula, WA

Dawn on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Olympic Peninsula, WA


Raven’s Journey ~ Chapter 12: Humanity’s Essence



Otter soon came loping into view from behind a drift log jammed tightly into the beach gravel a short distance from the river. She had been watching Raven while he studied the bony remains of the flat fish. She noted how he seemed puzzled: cocking his head this way and then that, picking the tail of the carcass up, trying to drag it but not being able to as if trying to figure how it had gotten to where it lay.

The agile otter hoisted herself up on to the sunning rock with Raven and listened intently as he directed his anxious thoughts her way. He asked: What did  Hummingbird mean by the re-evolution of humanity? How will it be done? And how long will it take?

He also shared with Otter the feelings that arose while he was ferrying the water drop and of Hummingbird’s encouragement to deliver it directly into the ocean waters so that his sister could practice her magic once again. He questioned Otter: Will I truly ever see my sister again?

Otter began answering  Raven in a roundabout way:  Pretend that you can direct its re-evolution. How would you go about doing it?

He liked the thought of directing the developing human element and began in earnest to discuss his opinions and give her his suggestions. But within a short while, he abruptly paused his chatter, realizing he had already given it the cues to re-evolve when he addressed the energies in the watery orb. Now he just needed to be more patient to its dynamic unfolding…but Raven still questioned: How and when and where or even will the Essence evolve into human flesh and bone? Otter lay silent, watching him and  listening.

Raven took more time to reflect before making further response. Otter showed no impatience, an act which relaxed him and encouraged him to sink into a deep, more peaceful state. He knew Otter was aware of his thoughts and calmly visioned the sentient energies and their movement around the Earth aided by the great forces and tidal actions: of the liquid waters evaporating, rising upwards with its message-imbued essences, ferried into the clouds, scattered by the winds and storms, falling as snow, rain, sleet and hail, puddling, flowing into rivers, streams and back to the seas and oceans.

What are the most critical things humans need to survive? Otter softly queried.

Food, air, water, shelter, safety . . . warmth. But why ask me? Otter continued to look at him. As the magical raven sought examples of each need, he remembered some of the absurd and excessive luxuries humans felt they once required and deserved but Otter was quick to call him back from his reverie.

Raven mused: Food to satisfy hunger, air to breathe, water to drink, shelter to stay safe, dry and warm . . . well, all of that is obvious. He pondered: Air, couldn’t go long without it.  Air was the most vital. Water and food . . . had to have both . . . really had to have all of them. Unable to see a connection to what she had asked, he became agitated, sharply clicking his beak together.

Otter, sensing his frustration, elaborated on the process that was actually happening: Due to its unique properties, water focused the emotions of your chant and devotion to your sister into the droplet which assured all within will be deeply affected and will carry that memory forward which will have a profound effect on the life of the planet. Your sister’s essence provided even more of a heartfelt energy surge into the drop because of her connection to your emotional outburst of love and caring. Thus so charged, the vibrating essences will influence the waters of the oceans, the rainfalls, mists, ice…all forms of water on Second Earth and all life forms that use or live in water or are touched by the forces of water. Since humans drink water, cook with it, bathe in it, heat with it, run machinery with it, water their gardens and fields with it, play in it, expel it from their lungs, eat foods largely composed of water . . . even their bodies are filled with fluids composed of water, all are being imprinted as the essences circulate. There is no escaping the message because it is so sincere, loving and simple.

It won’t take as long for the survivors to feel the effects of a new beginning. It will come naturally and feel quite liberating; although there will be a period of adjustment as old prejudices, worries and conflicts are shed and your message begins to affect their development and behavior. What is past, is past. We all make mistakes; that’s part of the living process. It’s to learn from the experiences and look for and integrate new ways of responsible expression.

With Raven, each answered question seemed to bring up another question. This time he asked Otter: How did you know what I would choose to say to the energies within the drop: to live a life in gratitude in the moment and respect everyone’s co-creative potential, both living and non-living?

There was nothing else that you could have said and comfortably and honestly followed yourself, is there? Otter responded.

Raven agreed. Due to his past indiscretions, simplicity of application and sincerity of purpose were extremely important.

Raven had one more question to ask Otter that he’d been holding back but he was now too curious to keep silent. How did you collect Humanity’s Essence?

Otter slid off the rock and stood on all fours facing him. Many cosmic levels of energy came together to form the right environment. Each individual drop of energy within the larger drop represents a tribal soul with an evolved consciousness that will remain in service to others as a vibratory essence. Their dispersal about the planet will insure a web of consciousness, a parallel universe of compassionate, aware energy. Of course, humans will still maintain free will and the choice to do what they feel is right according to their needs. We shall just have to wait and see how they utilize the grace they’ve been granted!

Otter turned and quickly loped off down the trail paralleling the river bank. She looked back once, stood on her hind feet and chuckled, then slipped into the river and swam away. Raven spread wide his wings and flew east towards the flotsam pile, now intent on filling his belly.

Raven actually had many more questions to ask Otter including: If my sister comes back in another form, will I recognize her? But Otter had disappeared, having gone on journey, leaving Raven with time to reflect on the events of the past few days. Although irritated at times by her absence, he practiced being content with the knowledge that all events happened at the proper time and to be patient but alert to their unfolding.

(To be continued in Chapter 13: Salmon)