A Whiff of Raven…
This tree has been in my family for centuries — at least for us women. My mother before me, her mother before her, and her mother before her as far back as we can remember we
have held lineage to this tree. The oldest daughter always inherits it when the Wise Old Mother passes. You never know what can happen to a mother. If the eldest daughter passes as well the next daughter takes reigns of the family tree. It becomes very territorial around here. Some of us can be harsh in waiting our turn much like my sister who watches and waits on the other side of the lake. I do not mind I understand her longing to keep her young this tree.
I believe my empathy has comes from watching over the girl. My heart has become soft to the ways of emotions after watching the girl suffer for so long. I have not lost my owlish wisdom, it has become enhanced with my age and understanding of these humans that we are supposed to guide. My sister would be wise to pay careful attention to her human, but she cares not. As a matter-of-fact at times she enjoys spooking her in the night. The poor fragile girl needing the wisdom of the owl instead she only receives tricks.
Most of us are not like my sister, her instincts have corrupted her and she has forgotten the gift we have been given in watching and guiding the humans. She does not stay silent when she should, and she speaks nonsense to confuse her human when she does speak. I find it evil to act in such a way making the true nature of us seem frightening instead of trying to change the false perceptions of the owl species.
We are not a bad omen or frightening, and some of us are not altogether wise. I have had my share of days — the times when I was not wise. I am now sensitive to it so much so that I am overly wise at times. I try to stay out of the affairs of the girl, but it is difficult to watch her torture herself every night.
My tree looks straight into her window, and I see what she does to herself. The tears that she hides from others. The laughter that she shares with her books. She does not share them with everyone. At times she comes out and tells me of the tales she has written. She knows that I cannot speak to her — though I want to. She knows my eyes look at her with longing to speak what she needs to hear, but she does not demand it. She smiles, and giggles then shares the stories of her love. And she showers me, and the rest of the world with delightful words of kindness.
I knew that with the tree came the responsibility to guide the girl. The tree was not allowed to be torn down because of us, the owls. We are protected — they built houses around our tree and the lake. Years and years people have lived in this place. They lived in houses of huts, cabins, trailers hidden in these woods, until they tore it down and built newer homes. The tales of the mothers before me were burdensome at times. We were placed in this tree for a reason, our clan belonged here. The pull of the Universe would draw the people who were to be guided. It was our purpose to watch over them. The warning was to never fall in love with them. Never look upon them as your own child. Always observe, and lead do not console or answer. My girl understood this without words, but she drew something out of me. My motherly instincts?
I was able to handle all of it until the day Raven came with him. I am jumping ahead. Raven is a dear friend. We have been close since we were young. He knows his place with his human. He always has. We have had many conversations about our humans, long dark nights conversing about the events and how best to guide them. Raven left several years ago — it broke both of our hearts. I shared my branch with him as we watched our humans. I bring up Raven now because it feels as though I sense him, but he has been gone for such a long time. Maybe it is the whiff of the breeze, it feels familiar.
My girl, I call her girl, but she is a woman. I cannot think in those terms though to me she will always be a child. The little girl who would run out to my tree and study its bark. She would laugh and talk to the ants that crawled up it, tell the tree how beautiful and grand it was. We all loved her interest in us. Her attention to the details of each root that was slowly rising from the earth. The trees deep, funneling roots that reach out and into the depths of soil that we cannot comprehend. She would roll on the ground and stroke the ridges. I speak as if she only did this long ago. The truth is she has continued to do this as recent as yesterday. We are the only thing that makes her smile now nowadays.
At night she comes out and speaks to me as she did when she was a child. She, caressing the leaves that dangle from the branches of my grandiose tree. We are the only ones who truly listen to her. My heart is tender towards her, and even my owlets take notice. I am raising them with empathy toward humans, I do not know if it is good or bad. The girl is different though. She is different from most humans, her mother before her, and her mother before her. They are a different type of human species. They are gone now and she has no one. She is left to her stories, and playful ways. I watch her try to hide her sadness, but the sockets reveal her pain. At times I wish she would not look me in the eyes, but we both get sucked into each other. We speak with our minds, she knows me and I know her in silence.
If I were to laugh, she would make me laugh with her silliness bouncing around saying: “Hoo, Hoo” and then: “Whoo Whoo..?” questioning who I am. She knows full well I will not answer, but that does not stop her from trying. I confess I would be mournful if she stopped. I would lose my flicker of light if she stopped calling to me, though I do not answer her directly. I have answered some, I have flown over head giving her a great shadow of stories and poems as her eyes caught me in the midnight sky. I have answered her with a whoosh passing her face as her eyes were closed. She knows this, and I think that is why she has not lost hope in speaking to me.
She looks somber through the window tonight. Her eyes teary and her hands trembling. I do not know what the matter is. There it is again, that whiff of Raven. He cannot be here. He must not be here. I have not seen her like this in such a long, long time. My poor girl, I cannot sit. Look up, look up! She does not see me at her window. What is she writing? I will call. She cannot see me by the window. I will call to her from the tree. “Hoo Hoo, Hoo Hoo”. She looked up: “Yes, girl yes come out here quickly.” Oh, my heart is terrified what is happening? Raven why do I feel you?
Was that his shadow before my perfect sight? Please dear Raven do not be you. Yet my heart is hopeful as well. My heart is happy for my friend to return, but if he has brought with him the past my heart will break. I smell you Raven. My sense of smell is not that great, but I am afraid that my excellent vision and hearing has not failed. I do not want to believe it is my friend –however, my senses tell me I am correct in my thoughts. I best brace myself for what is to come. My sweet girl dancing in her tears to meet me at the tree. Oh, she speaks to me in such a pleasant voice.
“Whoo, whoo? My beautiful owl. You have never called me before. Do you feel what I feel dear owl? I am afraid, and excited at the same time. I have tears, but I am not sure why. I feel something in the air. A familiar voice calls me in my sleep. I feel that I must dance under the moon tonight, sweet owl. I shall dance for you, the tree, and the stars while the moon kisses my forehead. I will feel delight in the rush of the cold, and safe beneath the watch of your perfect eyes.”
My gentle girl, I wish I could speak to you. I wish I could share the wisdom of my mother with you. I fear that even she would not hold the wisdom you need. As I sit and stare at you in adoration and angst, I will ask the moon to speak to your heart, and the songs of the stars in their ancient sight to unfold what will be a comfort to you. I know she cannot hear me but, somehow I sense that she knows exactly what I am saying. Her smile, and twinkle in her eyes reveal it. She most certainly can read me.
The sky is black, and wind is cool. I do enjoy evenings like this. I do not know when Raven will come, but I sense that it will be soon. We will most assuredly have a wonderful time catching up. I wonder how long we can evade the subject. I will not think of that now, the girl is dancing and smiling. My owlets need to be fed, and I must wait. Raven gave a call of awareness — he did not say he was coming only that he was here… We will wait until tomorrow to see if Raven and the past have truly come.