Alpine Lady

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

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

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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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