The Raven Above
By: Brad Cole

  It was in the morning when I started walking down the ice road from Tuluksak. An icy fog hung in the air where in a quarter of a mile the river disappeared into it. Large frost covered branches were sticking out of the snow circling the soft spots in the ice. Then I heard “squawk! squawk!” and saw a Raven soaring slowly over the snow covered trees.

  Today, I thought, the ice road has too many large snowdrifts for anything besides snowmachines. But soon the drifts will harden from the wind and the cars will return - until it starts to melt.

  An icy river can make good trail for walkers. On clear days I can see about a mile in either direction, which usually includes a fox crossing quickly from one bank of the river to another.

  I stopped and stood quietly and breathed deeply the cold air and wind of the river. The sky sparkled slightly from the ice fog. A Raven flapped up out of the trees, curled quickly about only to glide away and disappear behind them again. They like to play in the wind while hunting for mice, I wondered.

  It is the far off and ceaseless openness of the wild that appeals to me. I feel like a tiny seedling that wants to grow into a large tree and just sway calmly in the night winds of the forest, I thought while standing on the river, sensing the wholeness of life.

  Walking on I remembered the heavy loads and the long miles that people have taken down the rugged road of life. It seems by its’ very nature life wants to be a challenge, as though asking us to be a strong but peaceful people.

  I heard a soft “swoosh” coming from above and saw another large wing-swept Raven floating overhead. Even in the depths of winter they never seem to get cold, I thought. The blackness of their wings shines with light.

  Continuing my walk I found that there were no other people on the ice road, just me and the feather-frosted branches sticking out of the snow. So I decided to turn around and head back home. The ice fog was lifting and spots of sunlight peered through the grey sky.

  While on my walk home I imagined a moon rising up within my soul like a raven floating calmly above the trees. In this vision I could see the dark twisted branches of the snowy forest giving birth to the black winged Raven, a creature of flight. It is the Ravens that give life to a northern forest.

  And then as the Earth grew Raven created Man so the world could be an even better place with the use of tools and culture. It is a faith that reaches out beyond myself.