This morning as I lay in bed after one push of the snooze button the ravens outside begin to squawk incessantly. I know this sound well. They are mobbing a red tail hawk. I listen more closely. There is a distant distress call of the hawk’s mate.
I breathe in and breathe out and the incessant squawking continues. I peel myself from a small space in the middle of my king size bed, carefully trying not to disturb my five sleeping companions (my two dogs and three cats) with my clumsy dawn movements. I squint my eyes and go to the east facing bedroom window. “Where are the raven’s?” I ask myself. I see them in the distance perched on an ancient oak. I by no means have a hawk’s eye. I perceive in the field what I think is a downed raven. I look for a hawk, but don’t truly see one. I see the raven’s deep black wing flapping against the green morning dewy grass. I wonder, “Do I go out there and interfere with nature? Do I rescue that raven and take it to Wild Life Rescue to see if it can survive? Should I chase a hawk away?” I believe we are all apart of nature and there is no solid answer to this question. If we listen to our intuition in the present we will know exactly what to do. So I pull on my Ugg boots grab and old towel and jog out to the field leaving my animals bewildered and snoozing on the bed.
When I get to the scene the red-tail is on the ground eating the raven. The hawk is placid and allows me to approach. I stand twenty feet from him and watch. The raven’s spirit is no longer suffering, but his companions are relentless. They perch above, squawk, and dive at the hawk. They are mourning their friend. Standing in the midst of it all I wonder when do the ravens accept that there has been a death and that there is no more they can do? Is there behavior a ritual to honor the killed raven? Is it to prove something to the red-tail?
The red-tail’s mate flies above and calls out. She too is hungry. The male red-tail looks up decisively and flies to a tree carrying the raven and then to the branch of another tree closer to my house. I follow him as do a large flock of ravens. The hawk allows me to be ten feet from him. He is peaceful. Many ravens join him in the branches of the oak tree. He waits patiently and preens a feather from his breast. It sticks to a branch and then floats into my hand. We talk about giving thanks, companions, and praying. We talk about what it is like to be hit by numerous ravens while in flight. I want to talk to the ravens about acceptance but they are too upset. I admire both the hawk and the ravens. I admire the hawk for his calmness, patience, and confidence around the unwavering chaos and I admire the ravens for their loyalty and perseverance. I spend sometime with them all just being present and then I say goodbye and walk away. As my back turns the squawking seems a bit quieter. As I approach my home the morning doves coo-cooing becomes the predominant noise. The Native Americans believe the Morning Doves call is a sign, “to mourn the past and be opening to the promise of the future.”
I am back in my bedroom now writing this. Out the north window I can hear the morning doves cooing and out the east window the ravens are still squawking. I begin to reflect, “For how long do we morn the past?”
These pictures where taken an hour after my first encounter with the hawks and ravens.