The Nevermore Raven

    Christmas was painful for me this year. I am keenly aware of my aloneness. I'm alone because I choose to be. But that didn't stop it from being excruciating for me this year. Like Poe’s narrator in The Raven, I’m caught between wanting to remember and wanting to forget. 


    On Christmas day I was unusually sad. I kept remembering being a mom to small children and how rewarding and joyful that was for me. I was always so in love with my kids. It was natural for me to endeavor to make their lives meaningful and fun. We had countless hours of play, and poetry, and stories and music and dance. My god how I miss those full hours. That time is over, never to return, nevermore.


    Ben died 7 years ago on December 20th. I picked up his ashes from the funeral home on Christmas eve 2013, in a dramatic scene complete with the first flakes of Christmas snow falling as I placed his remains in my car. John died 4 years ago on November 8th. Ben’s birthday is November 13th. Of COURSE this time of year is going to be hard for me. Of course it is. I will nevermore spend time with either of these spectacular men. 


    With Covid, and with Bryan being away, it was the most emotionally fraught Christmas I have ever experienced. I decided it would do me good to get out of the house and walk on the beach. It was unseasonably warm. As Leia and I walked under the cliffs, I watched a group of ravens doing their signature dives and I felt so fortunate! I felt like they were rejoicing in their bodies and flight as a show for me! I began to see deeper than my own pain. It felt right. I was assured that life is GOOD...still. 


    We walked for a long way down the beach, and my mental fog began to lift, just a bit. On the way back, when I was almost to the house, I saw a dead raven head pointed downward, stuck in a tree, as if it had done one of those glorious dives and somehow gotten wedged and tangled in the branches. At first I had a crazy hope that it was alive and just stuck. I’ve gotten in the habit of speaking to the ravens here. I’ve seen them everyday for months now. I asked, “Are you OK??” A gust of wind answered me, moving the bird in a very unnatural way. I truly felt sick. I felt like all the joy I was beginning to have faith in was just pulled out from under me. I felt like I was being told, don't enjoy them.

    They’re just 




    And well, they are.


    You know, scientists are now saying that ravens are as smart as chimps and dolphins. They can mimic animal noises, bird calls and even human voices. They have complex social lives and structures and memories that last for generations. If you see a raven it can represent intelligence and wisdom.


    I spent most of the day today doing research on the meaning of finding a DEAD raven, to add to all the research i did last week on the meaning of ravens in general. Here are some things I found on the internet.


    “When you find a dead bird the meaning is someone you loved passed away.” Well duh!


    “The end of turmoil or pain is coming.”  That sounds good!


    “...the end of your search and struggle. A new beginning is just around the corner…the end of something and the start of something else.” Oh I do LOVE a good intrigue!


    ~ richardalois.com


    Seeing ravens reminds us to look within ourselves for the answers we seek. 


    “Not only do ravens inspire us to meditate and reflect on our possible misgivings in the past, but they also provide us with the strength to heal and experience rebirth and renewal without fear.” Actually, I’m feeling that...


    “...these birds imply that a spiritual transformation is afoot and that they have arrived to guide you through all of it.” Aww man, Thanks birds!


    “Spiritually, ravens imply mythical forces available to you and how they work and affect each aspect of your life. They serve as guides and inspiration, motivating you to bring about success by using your artistry and imagination. Ravens are also fierce reminders of the comfort of solitude and the beauty of embracing life even though you are on your own.” Really?? Wow!


    ~Cynthia Demers (RichardAlois)


    If a raven is my spirit animal it means I’m attractive and fearsome to others. That doesn’t seem likely to me, but maybe it’s true. With all my talk of death lately, I might be a bit frightening. I am from Baltimore, you know, Edgar Allen Poe's home.(I actually think a goose is my spirit animal).


    In all this research, I’m finding that ravens, with their playfulness, commitment to one another, darkest of black feathers, and steady diet of decaying flesh represent good and bad, pleasure and pain, honesty and deceit, light and darkness...In other words, everything. The circle of life. The darkness is as much a part of it as the light is. I need to accept that. Move through the pleasures and pains of life knowing that at no time will one exist without the other - nevermore.


    The next day, the ravens were playing again in my yard and above my beach. They were there the day after that too, and the day after that..and even today...



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