From time to time its hard to keep going but today I had a letter from the Vermont Boy about his life with animals and a magical raven encounter. This made me smile and I hope you will too.
I was a feral child. Even though I was surrounded by a large human family it was in nature that my soul found nurturing. My human mother was very skilled at raising wildlife, I even shared a crib with raccoon, though not raised by wolves I was raised with them. I’m sure that I picked up my mother's skills of caring for and interacting with wildlife... a gift I really appreciated.
All through my life it has been in the forest, in a woodland setting that I feel the most contentment, the most alive. In the wilds I have had many interactions with animals, possibly they have sensing something from me that conveyed that I wasn’t a danger.
Yet one interaction, the one below is the one that I cherish above the others.
One early October morning I went outside to stack firewood close to our house. We had gotten a delivery of wood dumped on our driveway and I needed to stack it near the house for ease of bringing inside during the long Vermont winter. It was a beautiful morning with sunshine making it’s way to me through the maple tree branches in the east and above bright blue sky. There was no wind, no rustling of leaves and little sound other than what I was creating as I worked.
I had been working away for a while going back and forth with the wheel barrow slowly making my rows of wood. All of a sudden I heard a call of a raven from above. I quickly looked up to catch a glimpse of the bird. When I looked up I discovered that the raven had been carrying leaves and as she cawed out her 'hello' leaves where released showering me below. I was able to catch one of the leaves in my hand, it was an elm leaf.
Many years ago I started calling out ‘Hello Beautiful’ if a raven flew over me, or repeating a whistle that I only used for them. The birds would notice me, some swerving in their flight pattern and twist their head towards me. One day I had three ravens circle me as I whistled to them, all flying equal distance from one another. As long as I kept whistling they would continue to circle me. Was the gift of leaves from one of these birds that had been observing me over the years? Maybe. I love ravens and alway find joy in watching them fly, everything about them expresses intelligence and curiosity.
I’ve had many experiences with ravens over the years but the story of the gift of leaves is the most memorable. In some ways I feel as if I have been adopted by them, welcomed into their lives as much as they will allow a human.
If stories of my experiences, my way of seeing the world, my interactions with wildlife can inspire an artist that is wonderful and makes me smile.
Thank you for listening to me, thank you for your art