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The gift that a raven brought

ravenflying“You may hide yourself in a thousand forms,

Still, All-beloved, I recognize you.” --Goethe.

I went for a hike yesterday on the Devil’s Backbone trail outside Loveland, and a wild creature brought me a special surprise. A gift to give me a lift.

I’ve been tired the last few days. I was tired as I finished my hike. As I was getting ready to open my car door, I heard a cry. I looked up, and saw a raven, one of my favorite creatures, passing directly over my head. As I leaned against the car and watched, it proceeded to put on a remarkable display of aeronautics.

As far as I was concerned, it was giving its display just for me. Certainly, no one else was watching.

The raven was flying for the pure joy of flying. He gave no indication at all he was looking for food. Sometimes he soared upward and upward in leisurely spirals. Another time, he suddenly launched himself straight down like a missile. He flew toward the ground close to where I was standing so fast that he was almost a blur, and then in an instant was commencing another upward spiral.

I thought, as I watched, "I don’t have wings. But thanks to you, I can fly for a little while without leaving the ground. What pleasure you are giving me, little raven."

I have loved ravens ever since, shortly after moving to Colorado 12 years ago, I read a beautiful book called The Mind Of The Raven, by Bernd Heinrich. He is a biology professor in Vermont who considers the raven to be one of the most intelligent and friendly creatures in nature. (His book inspired me to write a story about a young raven whose mission was to restore the ancient image of the raven as a guardian of humanity.)

Goethe’s words at the beginning of this post are timeless. They speak a truth vital to our understanding in these difficult, contentious days.

One truth is in us all. One love is in us all. One being is in us all. An aspect of Beauty resides within each one of us. It calls to us in each moment, and it says: "Here I am. I am your own true Being – just waiting to lift you up on wings of joy.

“All that you have been looking for in life is already present with you in the stillness of your own heart."


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

neil October 16, 2009 at 7:30 pm

hiya chris – i just opened my email and read your short story about the raven. thank you. i too love to watch the birds soar. it seems that in my observations while hiking, that the turkey vultures and hawks are more likely to put on an aeronautical display than a raven, but now that you report that the bird was undoubtedly putting on a display just for you, i’ll look for raven to hopefully thrill me also.

many times in my life i have seen big birds (could also be crow, pheasant, mourning dove, sparrow, jay, etc) come directly across my line of vision, and i always considered it ‘good medicine’ as our native american brothers call it. this oftentimes happens when i am musing or considering issues of a spiritual nature, and i am gladdened that affirmation appears through a being that is totally dependent on the air of spirit. (well of course we are too in order to breathe). the omen/message: to go UP! “and if I be lifted up….”

yes, your opening quote from Goethe was focused, eternally true. i thought it was a direct quote from the bhagavad gita or the bible, until i saw the german poet/philosopher’s name.

in the movie “little man” starring dustin hoffman, his native ‘grandfather’ says something which is a gift i have carried for many years: “as long as grass grows, the wind blows, and the sky is blue, my heart soars as an eagle.” may YOU keep soaring chris. a-dios


Ingrid October 17, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Thank you, Chris, for this reminder that Life is all around us in everything we see, if we/I would just recognize and celebrate it. It is in both expressing and in receiving that the dance of life occurs, ever spiraling upward as we continue giving our open-hearted, loving attention and care to the (seemingly) smallest details of living. I suspect that in God’s eyes, nothing is small and absolutely everything matters. May I allow my eyes and heart to be open to what is immediately next to me, so that a chain reaction of blessing may be initiated by my every feeling, thought,word and action. Namaste


John October 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm

hi chris – first time to your blog. when i read the words “devil’s backbone” i immediately thought, “loveland?” and of course that’s where you live. i grew up there, first near the sculpture park and then on the east side of lake loveland. after many years away i’m back and live in boulder. nice blog.


Jill Campana October 22, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Hi Chris. Enjoyed your blog…looks like several others did, too! The Raven I believe is the symbol of Rebirth.

We seem to be on somewhat the same wavelength with our blogs! I posted one just a few minutes ago that is an excerpt from Marianne Williamson’s “The Gift of Change”. You might enjoy it.

Take care of yourself my friend.




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